Mayo TD seeks removal of suicide clause from legislation
Michelle Mulherin says her amendments would restrict operation of part of Bill
Fine Gael’s Michelle Mulherin said X-case legislation “made sense” before meeting medical professionals. Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times
One of the Fine Gael TDs who may vote against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill later this week said X case legislation made sense to her before speaking to health professionals.
Speaking on RTÉ radio this morning, Michelle Mulherin said she has penned amendments to section nine of the Bill, which deals with suicide, but would not say whether she would support the Bill if her amendments were included.
“My amendments do not, at this stage, remove section nine from it, but would restrict the operation of it,” she said. “Ideally, I would like the removal of the suicide clause.”
The Mayo TD said a lot of the suicide clause is “window-dressing”.
Ms Mulherin said she changed her opinion onthe legislation when Dáil debates on the issue began. She added she is not coming from any anti-abortion campaign or group position.
Ms Mulherin is due to meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Health James Reilly over her concerns. She said Dr Reilly contacted her over the weekend.
Dr Reilly yesterday ruled out the removal of the suicide clause, saying there was no no prospect of the Government omitting “an entire section” from the Bill.
Mr Kenny will move swiftly to appoint a successor to Minister of State for Europe Lucinda Creighton if, as expected, she votes against the abortion legislation and is expelled from the Government.
Tension between Ms Creighton and her colleagues in Government intensified yesterday when she issued a tweet accusing Dr Reilly of misleading people by saying on radio that Fine Gael’s intentions on the matter were made clear in the 2011 election.
“Sorry Dr Reilly. Please do not mislead people. Our manifesto and programme for govt DID NOT commit FG Tds to this. Read it. Don’t make it up,” she wrote.
Such remarks in a public forum have fanned expectation that she will not support the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill in the final Dáil vote on Wednesday night.
After the loss of four TDs in the first Dáil vote last week, Mr Kenny is anxious to avoid any further defections in the final two votes.
Ms Creighton is the most prominent of four further doubters, the others being Kilkenny TD John Paul Phelan and Mayo TDs John O’Mahony and Ms Mulherin.