Leaking of abortion report 'treason', says Conway

Wed, Nov 28, 2012, 00:00

The leaking of the report of the expert group on abortion amounted to treason and anyone involved in the unauthorised divulging of it should be sacked and jailed, Martin Conway (FG) said.

Labhrás Ó Murchú (FF) said the leaking had been designed to stampede Oireachtas members into a knee-jerk reaction to one of the most important issues that had arisen in the history of the State. Whatever was done about the report, the debate and the outcome had been contaminated. “That’s how serious this issue is.”

Fianna Fáil Seanad leader Darragh O’Brien called on the Government to instigate an independent inquiry into the leaking, saying that anyone found to be responsible should lose their job.

Seanad deputy leader Ivana Bacik (Lab) said it was essential that the Government make a swift decision on what action was to be taken on foot of the report. There was a need to have legislation to ensure there were no more deaths in circumstances like those involving Savita Halappanavar.

Ms Bacik said there had been some rather unsavoury debate on suicide risk, which had been demeaning and dismissive of women. It had been suggested that women might somehow fake suicide risk in order to obtain an abortion.

Rónán Mullen (Ind) warned that a Seanad debate could end up being a sham if the Government rushed into a decision and sought to engage in a pretence of consultation with each House, but in fact allowed itself to be manipulated on the back of a Galway tragedy, that was extreme, into legislating for abortion in potentially very wide circumstances, specifically on the medically unverifiable suicide ground.

Marc MacSharry (FF) said the leaking had effectively been orchestrated by the Cabinet.

He thought this showed the disdain that those in Government had for parliament, and he wondered when the Taoiseach intended to bring in the kind of “Enabling Act” that Hitler had introduced in 1933.

Paul Coghlan (FG) said he thought talk on the leaking of the report was balderdash.