Two Dublin councils call for abortion law

Tue, Nov 13, 2012, 00:00

South Dublin County Council last night called on the Government to legislate for abortion to give effect to the Supreme Court decision in the X case.

The same issue caused a row at a meeting of Fingal County Council in north Dublin when a similar resolution was carried.

The motion tabled at the South Dublin County Council meeting by Labour councillor Chris Bond amended an earlier motion calling for the making of “safe and legal abortion available on demand of women in Ireland”, which was also tabled by Mr Bond.

Proposing his amended motion, Mr Bond said it was 20 years since the Supreme Court decision on the X case and it was time legislation was brought in to allow for abortion in such circumstances.

He acknowledged the fact that some people believed rights to abortion should be restricted, but said others believed in the right of women to choose abortion.

He said he believed the X case should be seen as a separate set of circumstances in which women who had been raped should have the right to access abortion.

Even many of those who felt abortion should be restricted have agreed that women who have been raped should have access to abortion, he said.

Labour councillor Mick Duff supported the motion, saying legislation on the X case was “long overdue”.

He said it was “abhorrent” that women in such circumstances had to travel for abortions.

Councillor Pamela Kearns said it was not correct to say the issue had no place on the agenda. “It is what we are faced with on the doorsteps and should be discussed here.”

Fianna Fáil councillor Eamonn Walsh said while people were genuinely concerned he felt it was not appropriate to legislate on the basis of the X case. The motion was “premature” in advance of a key Government report on the issue.

Mr Walsh also said he felt to legislate for abortion on the basis of the X case would be “tantamount to allowing abortion on demand”.

A row broke out in the chamber at a meeting of Fingal County Council as councillor Ruth Coppinger of the Socialist Party spoke on a motion she had tabled calling on the Government to legislate for the X case Supreme Court ruling. Labour councillor Tom Kelleher said he could not hear the proceedings due to a protest outside which he claimed had been organised by Ms Coppinger.

Ms Coppinger said the protest had been organised by the Balbriggan campaign against the household charge.

The motion calling for legislation on abortion was carried by eight votes to two with three abstentions.

The meeting also heard a claim that some people in north Dublin were concerned they may face prosecution because they were “duped” into not paying the household charge.