Gilmore: We will not be seventh govt to ignore abortion issue

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has refuted claims that the Government was equivocating over a decision on a law on abortion following the death of Savita Halappanavar.

Gilmore: We will not be seventh govt to ignore abortion issue

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has refuted claims that the Government was equivocating over a decision on a law on abortion following the death of Savita Halappanavar.

Mr Gilmore said the report from the expert group on abortion will be given to him and the Taoiseach today.

“I do believe that we need to bring legal clarity to this issue as quickly as possible,” he said.

“As the Minister for Health said in a Dáil debate here on the issue some time ago, this will not be the seventh government to neglect and ignore this issue.”

Mr Gilmore said there were complex considerations to take into account and he expects the expert group report will be published after the government has had a chance to consider it.

But Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said while expert groups met, reports were drafted and inquiries were held, women and the medical profession remained in a legal limbo.

“The case of Savita and the tragedy for that woman and her family writes large the failure of successive governments,” she said.

Ms McDonald said the expert group was late handing over its report, which she demanded the government publish immediately.

Junior minister Jan O’Sullivan, a pro-choice advocate, vowed that issues surrounding abortion when the life of a mother is at risk will be dealt with in the Government’s lifetime.

The Labour TD said the subject has been fudged for too long.

“I believe that we need to grasp the nettle, if that’s the right term, in relation to this issue which has been going on for 20 years or more now and it has always been fudged,” she said.

“There is a grey area, we need to respond to that.”

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