The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been accused of being "excessively cautious" over the abortion issue.
Earlier, Mr Kenny said the country could not be allowed to go back to the 1980's and be "convulsed" for years by the abortion debate.
He said that issues of pregnancy in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities, rape and incest are all "sensitive" and "controversial" matters which
However, former Justice Minister and Progressive Democrat leader Dessie O'Malley admits the country was "convulsed" by the issue in the past because the leaders of the day were too pious.
However, he says things have changed.
Mr O'Malley said: "I think he is excessively cautious, the Taoiseach, in saying what he said. I think the degree of convulsion that you would get in the country now would only be a small fraction of what we experienced in the 1980s.
"It is 32 years now since that amendment was passed, and I think people will take a more balanced and a more mature view of these problems now."