Legislation on abortion needed, says Labour leader


THE OIREACHTAS must face up to its responsibilities and bring in legislation to allow abortion in circumstances where the life or health of the mother is at risk, the Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore has said.

Speaking on RTÉ yesterday, he said the recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights on Ireland’s abortion laws left no option but to bring in legislation.

“The court was very clear that Ireland was out of kilter [in terms of] human rights. I appreciate that it’s a difficult issue and it causes a great deal of division.” He said he believed it should be done in the lifetime of the next Dáil.

Mr Gilmore said he disagreed with the suggestion of Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny that the judgment, and the issues arising from it, should be looked at by an all-party committee of the Oireachtas. He said the legal advice the party had received was that there was no need for a constitutional amendment, notwithstanding his party’s view that the legislation was required not only when the life of the mother was at risk, but also when her health was at risk.

He said he did not believe the constitutional amendment on abortion, which gave rise to a narrowly-defeated referendum in 2002, should be revisited.