Coveney confident anti-Repeal TDs will not seek to block legislation
Widespread nature of Yes win hows there is no urban/rural divide, says Tánaiste
Tánaiste Simon Coveney speaking in Iveagh House, Dublin. File photograph: Cyril Byrne
Tánaiste Simon Coveney has expressed confidence that TDs previously opposed to repealing the Eighth Amendment will not seek to frustrate the passage of legislation in Dáil Eireann following an emphatic vote by the Irish people in favour of repeal.
Mr Coveney said that the scale of the win for the Yes side was important but equally significant was the fact that there was no divide between Dublin and the rest of the country, with rural constituencies proving equally emphatic in their desire for change.
“I think what you will see now is the government moving quickly on the legislation and the opposition will support that too - I think there will be very few people in the Dáil who will try to frustrate what is now the clear will of the vast, vast majority of the Irish people,” he said.
“For me, the margin of victory is important but equally important is that there is no Dublin versus the rest or no urban/rural divide -in virtually every part of the country, people have voted in big numbers to allow the government and the Oireachtas to change Ireland for the better.
“There was a big fear that Dublin would make one decision and we would see the rest of the country make another and we would have a real divisive debate even it was passed but we haven’t seen that and we now have a clear consensus, allowing us to move forward.”
Mr Coveney said that he believed that a lot of undecided people had accepted the reassurance offered by the government that they were not intent on introducing “some radically liberal” abortion regime and had voted to allow the government and Oireachtas change the status quo.
“Ireland will be able to legislate and for the first time protect women in their own country rather than having thousands of women to travelling to cities like Manchester and Birmingham on their own, lonely and vulnerable any longer and that makes me very proud as an Irish person.”
Paying tribute to former taoiseach Enda Kenny for promoting the debate with the establishment of the Citizens’ Assembly, Mr Coveney said that he was confident that the legislation would be introduced and enacted in the Dáil before the end of the year.
“I can’t speak for everybody but I think there will be a strong majority in the Dáil now for the legislation the government has promised because many of them will recognise, even if they voted for No, what the Irish people have asked us to do by voting Yes in such a huge way.”
There were some heated moments in Cork City Hall when Mr Coveney was confronted by a small number of No campaigners, with one woman telling him that at a lot babies would be killed as a result of his actions and the actions of his colleagues in Government.
Another woman confronted Mr Coveney and told him that she had previously given him her No 1 in the last general election but she would never vote for him again. A man also approached Mr Coveney outside City Hall carrying a sign proclaiming that pro-repeal TDs were “murdering scum”.