Shortall criticises Goverment for not accepting any amendments to legislation

Suicidal women will not be allowed to have representative with her despite Dr Reilly’s intentions, former Labour minister says

Róisín Shortall criticised the Government for a ‘lack of any generosity or collegiality’ on the abortion legislation. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Róisín Shortall criticised the Government for a ‘lack of any generosity or collegiality’ on the abortion legislation. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Thu, Jul 11, 2013, 23:55

Former Labour minister Róisín Shortall has sharply criticised the Government for a “lack of any generosity or collegiality” on the abortion legislation.

The Dublin North West TD claimed the Government was refusing to accept a single amendment to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, including on an issue Minister for Health James Reilly thought he was providing for.

Ms Shortall said the legislation would not allow the woman to have a representative with her when she went for the review process when she had suicidal intent, even though she said Dr Reilly meant to allow for it.

An amendment by Independent TD Denis Naughten sought to have an “and/or” included so that where there was a review for the suicidal woman arrangements could be made to hear the woman “and/or” a representative.

The legislation, when the amendment was voted down, remains that either the woman or her representative would be heard.

The Government had a comfortable majority in the vote, but unusually on the legislation, all Fianna Fáil TDs, all Sinn Féin TDs and all independents in the chamber bar Finian McGrath voted together for the amendment.

Ms Shortall, who remains a member of the Labour party but not of the parliamentary party, said it demonstrated the Government’s arrogance.

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