Latest: Sinn Féin pressing ahead with campaign to repeal 8th Amendment

LATEST:Sinn Féin has said the Oireachtas should not be bound by the Citizens Assembly's findings on abortion.

Latest:  Sinn Féin pressing ahead with campaign to repeal 8th Amendment

Update 3pm:Sinn Féin has said the Oireachtas should not be bound by the Citizens Assembly's findings on abortion.

Health spokeswoman Louise O'Reilly says TDs should still have discretion to put forward their own policies on the subject.

The Assembly wants a referendum to give the Oireachtas the power to legislate on the subject, and then for laws to allow abortion in any circumstances up to 12 weeks.

Louise O'Reilly says Sinn Féin's policy is for total repeal of the 8th Amendment, and that's what it will pursue.

"The Assembly has made recommendations and that's all that they are," she said.

"They will for the basis of our discussions, Sinn Féin has outlined very, very early on out position with regard to the 8th Amendment - we believe it should be repealed."

Update 12.03pm: Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe said today that he could not provide an indication of when legislation would be introduced in response to the Citizens Assembly's recent recommendations on the 8th amendment.

The Assembly decided that a referendum should take place to replace the controversial clause with one giving the Oireachtas powers to legislate.

Its recommendations included allowing abortion in all circumstances up to 12 weeks gestation.

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe says it is for this Dáil and Seanad to deal with this, but wouldn't be drawn on when we could expect legislation.

"I can't, at this point, give an indication as to what a legislative timeline would be, for the simple reason now that the Oireachtas Committee now has to form, now has to consider this matter, which they will do, and in the aftermath of that happening the Government will form a response to how we deal with a matter that the country wants to be considered."


There has been a mixed reaction to the Citizens' Assembly vote to allow unrestricted abortion.

The National Women's Council of Ireland is welcoming the decision.

But the Pro Life Campaign says the Assembly lacked balance.

Mary Laffoy.
Mary Laffoy.

The group met for the last time yesterday, before sending their recommendations to the Oireachtas.

Director of the Women's Council, Orla O'Connor, says politicians need to do as they say.

"The Citizens Assembly was established by the Government to give it a direction in terms of where to go on the abortion issue.

"The Assembly have given a very, very clear direction, they've said we need a referendum, they've put women's needs, particularly women's health needs at the centre of the decision and they've said abortion needs to be made available in Ireland," she said.

A member of the special Oireachtas committee on abortion says the issue can't be 'kicked down the road', and needs to be dealt with.

Labour's member of the group Jan O'Sullivan says the issue can't be left to one side.

"This is one can that we simply cannot kick down the road.

"It's been hanging around since 1983, it should have never been in the Constitution, it needs to get out of the Constitution now.

"It's our job to deal with it and I would be very strongly against kicking that can down the road," she said.

Cora Sherlock from the Pro Life campaign said it's disturbing from a human rights point of view.

"I'd say it was a chaotic, muddled shambles from start to finish.

"I think that's what the Oireachtas Committee that's now tasked with looking at the issue has to really address because what we saw over the weekend in particular - and over the weeks leading up to this weekend - was a situation where evidence-based medicine gave way to ideology."

Ailbhe Smyth from the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment says the Assembly findings show the educated opinion of middle Ireland.

"There is a problem here in this country.

"We have to get to grips with it, it's very real, we can't go on ignoring and denying the fact that women need abortion and we need to look at that in some detail and really grasp it and begin to take steps to deal with it - and that's exactly what they have said now to Government."

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