Taoiseach’s colleague remains opposed to suicide clause in abortion legislation

John O’Mahony hopes to see the draft law altered as it passes through the Oireachtas.

Mr O’Mahony, a former Mayo GAA manager who broke down while speaking about abortion at last week’s meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, said he had discussed the matter with Mr Kenny directly on a number of occasions and they would talk again soon.

Mr O’Mahony, a former Mayo GAA manager who broke down while speaking about abortion at last week’s meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, said he had discussed the matter with Mr Kenny directly on a number of occasions and they would talk again soon.

Tue, May 7, 2013, 06:00


Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s constituency and party colleague John O’Mahony has said amendments to planned abortion legislation would be helpful but he remains opposed to the inclusion of a suicide clause.

Mr O’Mahony, one of the Fine Gael TDs with the strongest concerns about the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, hopes to see the draft law altered as it passes through the Oireachtas.

“It’s the principle that I have the difficulty with. I will be awaiting with interest to see what emerges in these areas. Obviously some amendments would be helpful, but it’s the principle that’s the difficulty for me,” he said.

Some Fine Gael backbenchers are seeking a time limit on how late into a pregnancy a termination can be performed in cases where the mother is suicidal, along with a review of the legislation after 12 months if abortion figures escalate.

A third amendment being sought is legal representation for the unborn child if a woman is granted a termination on grounds of suicide. Labour will firmly reject all three proposals, a senior party source has confirmed.

Mr O’Mahony, a former Mayo GAA manager who broke down while speaking about abortion at last week’s meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, said he had discussed the matter with Mr Kenny directly on a number of occasions and they would talk again soon.

“I’ve always found the Taoiseach with an open door at all times and I see that as a huge benefit. I respect the job that he has to do as well. We have a good working relationship,” he said.

However, another Fine Gael backbencher criticised Mr Kenny’s robust response to Cardinal Seán Brady’s rejection of the Bill, when the Taoiseach said: “My book is the Constitution.”

In an indication of how bitter the debate could become, the backbencher, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said: “He’s becoming increasingly like Chairman Mao with his little red book.”

Labour TD Ciara Conway yesterday insisted what she described as an “a la carte” approach to the proposed legislation was not helpful. “This is a very divisive issue, I understand that, but we have a job as legislators to ensure that we do it,” she said.

Pro Life Campaign deputy chairwoman Cora Sherlock said the Bill was “about introducing an abortion regime”.