Fine Gael TDs must back legislation to deal with the European Court of Human Rights ruling that pregnant Irish women need certainty about legal abortion rights in Ireland, or else lose the party whip, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

Speaking in Cardiff, he said the party had very clear rules on this. “People who are elected to the party that I lead ... act and vote in accordance with party decisions. And that is the way that it will be,” he said.

On what needs to be done now he said: “We are dealing with a very different generation of politicians, our country has moved to a different space, there are clearly very strongly-held views,” said Mr Kenny.

“The vast majority of people understand what needs to be done here, but they do not want to move to a position where you have abortion on demand in the country,” he went on.