TDs in ‘invidious position’ over bill

The attorney general’s advice branding a bill seeking termination rights for women with fatal foetal abnormalities unconstitutional may be made public to give Labour TDs political cover and avoid a damaging split.

TDs in ‘invidious position’ over bill

Cork TD Michael McCarthy said the attorney general’s view had put Labour TDs in an “invidious” position as many wanted to support the amendment introduced by Independent TD Clare Daly when it is voted on tomorrow.

Cabinet minister Simon Coveney backed calls for the ruling to be made public ahead of the Dáil vote, as Tánaiste Joan Burton insisted Labour opposes the bill on constitutional grounds, even though this has caused tension within the party.

Labour TDs have been branded hypocrites on the issue as 14 of them, including five ministers, wrote an open letter to then health minister James Reilly in 2013 urging him to use the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill to extend termination rights to women with fatal foetal abnormalities.

However, Mr McCarthy says TDs have a difficult choice to make.

Fianna Fáil is to allow its TDs a free vote on the issue, while Sinn Féin will abstain.

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