Firstly, I would like to first express my deep sadness at the death of Savita Halappanavar and express my condolences to her husband, her family and her friends. I say that both as a parent and a grandparent.
I am very happy to be able to speak in the House on this issue. I think it is only right that every member is able to express their views on the report and to have their constituents hear the voice of the people they elected to represent them.
I have been contacted by hundreds of my constituents expressing their views on the matter, and I want to thank them for doing so. I have never had as much contact from my constituents on a single issue, which I believe speaks volumes about how seriously the people view the matter of the X Case.
As someone who remembers the 1983 referendum I welcome the calmer and rational debate that is taking place now. Those of us who disagreed with the wording in 1983 were subjected to a lot of aggravation at the time, and some of it happened in the work place. Thankfully today we can debate this question more maturely and with greater tolerance.
As Justice Ryan says in the Report, the European Court of Human Rights concluded that there is an existing constitutional right which was identified by the Supreme Court in the X Case, and it is logical and rational that this right should be available and enforceable in law. Article 47 of the European Convention on Human Rights requires this Oireachtas to implement its judgement. As this State ratified that Convention, we cannot make excuses for ignoring this report.
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A Government backbencher has appealed to fellow male TDs to listen very carefully to their female relatives in the debate on abortion.
The head of a European Parliament committee on women’s rights has said Ireland must clarify its abortion laws.
You might be aware that Labour TDs including myself, did not support Clare Daly’s billon the X case last night. As your TD, I want to explain why I voted No.
A LABOUR TD has said that the party “has not voted against the idea of legislating for abortion”.
The commitment by Taoiseach Enda Kenny that Fine Gael will impose the whip to ensure the passage of legislation covering abortion in limited circumstances is a clear signal that there will not be any serious conflict between the Coalition parties on the issue.
HEALTH watchdog HIQA has launched a statutory inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar after a miscarriage.
TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore has ordered Labour ministers to push for action on the controversial abortion issue despite his absence from Cabinet today.
And his party colleague, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn, has warned there will be "consequences" for TDs who vote against the Government on the contentious issue.
The death of Savita Halappanavar has propelled the issue to the top of the political agenda and the Cabinet will today decide on the coalition response to a Sinn Fein motion calling for immediate legislation.
But Mr Gilmore will miss the key meeting as he is attending a crucial gathering of EU foreign affairs ministers in Brussels about agreeing the €1 trillion EU budget for 2014-2020.
A Labour source said its ministers were "very clear" about Mr Gilmore's desire to get legal clarity on abortions when a pregnant mother's life was at risk.
"We want a decision as quickly as possible," the source said.
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TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore is facing a backbench rebellion over a contentious Dail motion on abortion this week, with some Labour TDs warning they may vote against the Government.Sinn Fein has tabled a motion calling on the Dail to legislate for abortion, and some Labour TDs are seriously considering supporting it.
The Government will reject the motion, and vote against it in the Dail on the basis that it is considering its position after receiving the report of the expert group on abortion last week.
Labour chairman Colm Keaveney is warning that the government response must not be "wishy-washy".
Mr Keaveney said there should be a clear "statement of intent" about how the Coalition will deal with abortion.
He also said "there is a lot of work to be done in the next 72 hours" to get the counter-motion right.
And Waterford Labour TD Ciara Conway says she may vote for the Sinn Fein motion if the Government's own motion is not strong enough.
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