Committee to hear from people with experience of abortion

Oireachtas group discusses witness list and schedule at private meeting

Chair of the Oireachtas committee Sen Catherine Noone said the meeting was constructive and respectful. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Chair of the Oireachtas committee Sen Catherine Noone said the meeting was constructive and respectful. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

 

The Oireachtas committee examining the Eighth Amendment is to invite families with experience of abortion to give evidence.

The 21-members met in private on Wednesday night to discuss its upcoming work programme and potential witness list.

It was agreed that Terminations for Medical Reasons, a support group for families who have dealt with fatal foetal abnormalities, would be asked to give testimony as it did not have the opportunity to appear before the Citizens’ Assembly.

Members of the committee opposed to legalising abortion were asked to select a group to advocate their position.

The committee also selected a number of barristers and lecturers to be invited to give evidence. The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission will also be asked.

Chair of the committee Sen Catherine Noone (Fine Gael) said the meeting was constructive and respectful.

The first public meeting will take place next week with Ms Justice Mary Laffoy, chair of the Citizens’ Assembly.

The Programme for a Partnership Government mandates the committee to examine the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly and make its own proposals within three months.

The assembly, chaired by Ms Justice Laffoy, voted in favour of allowing abortion in a wide range of circumstances.

The committee agreed to hear evidence from each witness before considering the individual recommendations.