Action required when expert group issues report on abortion, says Lynch
THE GOVERNMENT will have to take action when the report of the expert group on abortion is issued, Labour Party Minister of State Kathleen Lynch said yesterday.
“It’s as simple as that,” she said, adding there were three possibilities which would arise. These included legislation, a referendum and regulation – and she was not certain which of these the report would recommend.
“It might just recommend all of them, of course, and leave the options up to the Government.
“No matter what they recommend, we have to act, it’s as simple as that,” said the Minister of State at the Departments of Health and Justice. “We can no longer ignore both what our own Supreme Court has said and indeed what the European Court of Human Rights has said as well,” she said.
“It’s not something anyone relishes but nevertheless it has to be done,” she told reporters at the Labour Party “think-in” at Maynooth.
She added: “I don’t think there’s anyone very keen to deal with a subject like abortion, I would have to be honest about that.
“But nevertheless there are decisions we will have to make – and this is one of them.”
The Government-appointed expert group is expected to report shortly on the implications of the European Court of Human Rights decision that Ireland failed to implement existing rights to abortion where a mother’s life is at risk.
Tánaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore told reporters his party was “delighted to welcome” Fine Gael Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitz-gerald to the event.
She is to give a briefing on the children’s rights referendum this afternoon.
Asked whether it was appropriate for his parliamentary party to be meeting in a luxury hotel such as Carton House, which does not appear on the Siptu union’s “Fair Hotels” website, he replied: “We got a good deal from the hotel, we got meeting rooms for €450 for two days.
“I think it’s a sign of the times, that deals of various kinds are now available in the hotel and tourism sector, and I hope that that will help to boost our tourism numbers during the course of the year.”
On the question of a Cabinet reshuffle, Mr Gilmore said he had heard the Taoiseach’s comment on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland: “I thought he made it very clear that he was cracking a joke.”
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin, when asked whether he was concerned the public would begin to resent the Croke Park agreement after the next budget, replied: “It is delivering on all the targets set, but nothing is immutable.
“We have a deal, and as long as the other side stick to the deal, that we get reforms, changed practices, the savings in public expenditure, which is the real important thing, the Government will stick to its side of the bargain.”
Asked when the negotiation of Croke Park II would begin, he said that was something that hadn’t even been considered yet by Government.