Priority must be given to protecting life of the mother in abortion law, says FF leader

Party would have to ‘see the detail of the legislation’

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: accepted there had to be “legal clarity for the medical community in relation to protecting the life of the mother in pregnancy while protecting the life of the unborn”

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: accepted there had to be “legal clarity for the medical community in relation to protecting the life of the mother in pregnancy while protecting the life of the unborn”

Sat, Apr 27, 2013, 06:00


Priority has to be given to protecting the life of the mother, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said about the issue of abortion.

His party accepted there had to be “legal clarity for the medical community in relation to protecting the life of the mother in pregnancy while protecting the life of the unborn. But priority has to be given to protecting the life of the mother.”

Mr Martin was speaking last night before the opening of the party’s 74th ardfheis at the RDS, where members will debate some 220 motions including the rules for the election of future leaders, with the creation of a new electoral college; and reform of the ard chomhairle, including reducing membership from 120 to 95.

The party leader also accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of trying to shift the focus from the unemployment crisis and his “E grade” performance on job creation by attacking Fianna Fáil. Mr Kenny claimed Mr Martin had left a “legacy of devastation” on the economy. But the Fianna Fáil leader said Mr Kenny had a domestic story and an international story, blaming Fianna Fáil at home and EU policies abroad. Asked if he was saying Mr Kenny was two-faced he said “on this issue, yes” but “I’m not using that language.”

During today’s session members will debate four motions on abortion, including one from the Dún Laoghaire, Dublin Central and Cork North West constituencies to reaffirm “Fianna Fáil’s position as a pro-life party”.

When he said priority had to be given to the life of the mother, Mr Martin added: “Of course, we did introduce legislation 10 years ago to do that. That excluded the suicide issue and that wasn’t passed by the people. The suicide issue is an issue that people have different perspectives on.”

Asked if he personally believed the threat of suicide should be included, he replied: “It’s not what I personally think.”

The issue was “in terms of how you legislate for that do you inadvertently create a situation where you have abortion on demand or open the floodgates. So that’s an argument that has been made.”

Before Fianna Fáil commented definitively the party would “have to see the detail of the legislation” the Government is expected to publish shortly.