Mullen calls on Minister to attend Seanad to discuss plans for abortion

“It seems that this issue is being debated everywhere except in this House,’’ he said

Independent Ronan Mullen called on Minister for Health Dr James Reilly to attend the House to discuss the Government’s plans on abortion. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Independent Ronan Mullen called on Minister for Health Dr James Reilly to attend the House to discuss the Government’s plans on abortion. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Wed, Apr 24, 2013, 09:09

Independent Ronan Mullen called on Minister for Health Dr James Reilly to attend the House to discuss the Government’s plans on abortion.

“It seems that this issue is being debated everywhere except in this House,’’ he said.

“I am not happy or impressed by the manner in which, on the one hand, the Government is not communicating with many interested stakeholders but, on the other hand, we are being subjected to the raising of hares, leaks and counter-leaks about what the Government intends to do.’’

Mr Mullen said the confusion was expressed in The Irish Times which stated, incorrectly he believed, that a small group of Fine Gael TDs and Senators remained firmly opposed to the Government’s expressed strategy of giving legal clarity on abortion in cases where the mother’s life was at risk.

“Let us be clear, everybody agrees that there must be clarity about when it is legitimate to intervene to protect a mother’s life, which must always be done. The issue is suicide and there is no getting away from it.’’

Darragh O’Brien (FF) said there should be an explanation of the rationale for Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to abstain at today’s Bank of Ireland agm on the remuneration package of directors and senior executives. “I remind the Minister that the taxpayer put €4.7 billion into Bank of Ireland, some of which has been recouped, which I welcome.’’

Labhrás Ó Murchú (FF) said the remuneration packages were outrageous, and those involved were coming across as untouchables.

Jimmy Harte (Lab) said that when bankers were getting pay increases during the Celtic Tiger there was silence from the then Fianna Fáil-led government.

Mr Harte said Mr O’Brien, as leader of the Fianna Fáil group, should respond in the House to a debate at the party’s ardfheis on why bankers’ pay reached such levels. “It was not because of this Government.’’