Sinn Féin Ard Fheis: Pro-life Tóibín refuses to say if he will back abortion

Pro-life Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín has refused to say if he will vote in favour of abortion legislation should the issue come before the Dáil again, despite his party’s ard fheis backing calls for fatal foetal abnormality terminations and the repeal of the eight amendment.

Sinn Féin Ard Fheis: Pro-life Tóibín refuses to say if he will back abortion

Speaking after the decisions were made, the Meath West representative — who was suspended from the party for six months for opposing the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill in 2013 — said he remains “strongly convinced on the right to life” of the unborn.

Mr Tóibín said he wants to continue the “robust debate” within his party on the issues involved, but declined to comment when asked what he will do if the Dáil will be asked to vote again on either matter.

The situation emerged after delegates voted to include the two abortion issues in official policy after vocal calls from deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald, Northern Ireland First Minister Martin McGuinness and health spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.

They were further supported by Derry delegate Cathal Ó hOisín, who told the ard fheis about his son Christopher, who was born in 1986 with anencephaly, an extremely serious condition involving a child being born without large parts of its brain and skull, and how this tragic diagnosis changed his opposition to abortion.

Just one speaker, Cork delegate Finian Ó Tuama, urged the party not to “rush” to back the policies as other parties had done.

However, despite the call, the motions will now become a mainstay of the party’s general election campaign.

The clarification of Sinn Féin’s position came after the party was last month unable to vote on Independent TD Clare Daly’s bill on the issue, as it had no official policy.

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