Leo Varadkar rules out second referendum on abortion

‘I am a democrat and I have to accept the outcome of a referendum and elections’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris joined Fine Gael members to canvass commuters at Tara Street Station in Dublin.


There will not be a second referendum on the Eighth Amendment, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has insisted.

Speaking at an early canvass in Dublin on Tuesday morning, Mr Varadkar encouraged voters to support repealing the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution claiming abortion is already happening in Ireland.

The Taoiseach said the Government will accept the decision of the Irish people.

“I am a democrat and I have to accept the outcome of a referendum and elections.

“(There will not be a second referendum) in the forseeable future, certainly not under this Government.”

Mr Varadkar was joined by a number of Cabinet Ministers seeking a Yes vote on May 25th.

The Taoiseach urged voters to support the proposition being put by the Government.

Asked about whether politicians could be trusted on this issue, Mr Varadkar said politicians in Westminster are being trusted to determine what circumstances abortion is available to Irish women.

A No vote would mean women who access abortion pills could be criminalised and face 14 years in jail, the Taoiseach added.

Asked if he had played enough of a role in the campaign, Mr Varadkar said he has a busy job but is out campaigning whenever he can.

The Government has proposed repealing the Eighth Amendment and allowing for access to terminations within the 12 weeks. Beyond that, abortions will be made available when a woman’s life or health is at risk.


Mr Varadkar described the current situation as “dangerous” insisting it was time to wake up to the realities of abortion and provide it in a safe, legal and regulated fashion.

The Taoiseach was asked about the use of photographs of children with Downs Syndrome in posters and whether he shared the views of Minister for Health Simon Harris, who said it was “upsetting”.

Mr Varadkar said it was wrong because the proposed legislation was clear that disability is not a grounds for terminating a pregnancy.

“It is another attempt by the No campaign to muddy the waters and create confusion. It is wrong.”

Mr Varadkar said he was confident the referendum would pass and the Irish people would make the right decision.

The majority of people will put themselves in the shoes of a woman facing a crisis pregnancy and analyse how difficult that decision will be, Mr Varadkar added. He believed they would then vote Yes.