Gilmore defends all-night sitting of Dáil from Washington
Tánaiste describes criticism of the debate by the opposition as ‘a bit ironic’
Responding to opposition criticism of the overnight debate, Eamon Gilmore said the abortion legistlation was ‘sensitive’ and ‘ felt that time should be given’. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times
Opposition criticism of the debate, which ran until 5am, was “a bit ironic,” he said, because most of the time the Government is criticised for ending debates using the guillotine procedure.
“We felt this is a sensitive piece of legislation. We felt that time should be given,” said Mr Gilmore on a two-day trip to Washington to discuss new US immigration legislation and economic matters.
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The Government felt time should be given to debate the bill as the opposition were “very anxious” to look for additional time, he said. He expects the process to “probably move faster” as the legislation proceeds.
“It happens,” said Mr Gilmore. “There is no doubt about where he stands on the legislation - he supports it.”
“He’s apologised for it - I understand that Deputy Collins has accepted his apology,” he said.
On the decision of Minister of State Lucinda Creighton not to support the legislation’s section on suicide, Mr Gilmore said he would hope and expect Government deputies to support the legislation.
“I’ve heard the views that she has expressed on it. I think we just have to see it through and wait and see how things play out,” he said.
The Tánaiste, who had previously wanted include provisions in the legislation to deal with fatal foetal abnormalities, accepted that there were areas that the Bill did not address.
“That is something that will have to be looked at in the future but right now our focus is on getting this piece of legislation through the Oireachtas, ” he said.
He declined to say whether this was something that would be addressed with further legislation during the lifetime of this Government.
Mr Gilmore said he did not want this coalition to be the seventh successive government to ignore the need to legislate for the X case 21 years ago.