Tánaiste rejects Bruton abortion view

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said today he disagrees with former taoiseach John Bruton's assertion that legislation would not be consistent with constitution. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said today he disagrees with former taoiseach John Bruton's assertion that legislation would not be consistent with constitution. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Fri, Feb 15, 2013, 00:00

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has today rejected former taoiseach John Bruton’s view that Government legislation on abortion is going to be unconstitutional and he expressed confidence that the legislation will receive the support of all Fine Gael and Labour TDs.

Mr Gilmore said he disagreed with Mr Bruton’s assertion in an opinon piece in today’s Irish Times that it would not be "consistent with the plain words of the Constitution" to include a provision allowing abortion when there is a risk to the life of the mother from suicide.

"I disagree with Mr Bruton. The Government has made a decision to legislate for the X case, that legislation will clearly be within the terms of the constitution, the legislation is being prepared and we will be proceeding with it," said Mr Gilmore.

"It's over 20 years since the Supreme Court gave its judgment in the X case. There is a necessity to provide certainty for women, for mothers in this situation and the Government has decided to proceed with legislation."

Speaking in Cork following a European Movement Ireland Dialogue, Mr Gilmore said that the events of the past year had shown the consequences of uncertainty for both women and the medical professionals caring for them while pregnant.

He said that the legislation has yet to be published and "everyone will be able to express their opinion on it". He played down suggestions that Mr Bruton’s comments will create any tension between Fine Gael and Labour over the issue.

"No, not at all. He (Mr Bruton) is perfectly entitled to his point of view and to express that in this article - I disagree with it. We have made a decision as a Government that we are going to proceed by way of legislation and that is what we will do," he said.

Asked if he was concerned that the proposed legislation may not win the support of all members of Fine Gael and Labour TDs, Mr Gilmore was confident. "It will be Government legislation and both Government parties will support that," he said.

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