Cabinet to hold special meeting on wording of abortion vote

Leo Varadkar calls for Dáil to sit on Friday to debate proposed legislation on referendum

The gates of Government Buildings. The Cabinet will hold a special meeting on Thursday to discuss the proposed wording of  the referendum on the Eighth Amendment. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

The gates of Government Buildings. The Cabinet will hold a special meeting on Thursday to discuss the proposed wording of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

The Cabinet will hold a special meeting on Thursday to discuss the proposed wording of the question to be posed in the referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed Ministers will meet on Thursday morning to discuss the final draft wording of the referendum Bill.

Mr Varadkar also proposed that the Dáil sit on Friday to discuss the proposed legislation ahead of the recess next week.

This would allow for the referendum commission to be established and begin its preparatory work for the vote. It would also allow for a second-stage debate on the Bill ahead of the week-long break.

The referendum Bill was due to be discussed at Cabinet on Tuesday but this was delayed due to the impending Supreme Court ruling on the rights of the unborn.

On Tuesday, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told the Dáil it was “important the Supreme Court is allowed to do its own work” and was free of pressure from the Oireachtas.

Mr Martin said: “I would also urge caution. I have been involved in many referendums myself and what is most important is getting it right.

“Timing is important, speed is important, but getting it right is ultimately the key issue.”

The Supreme Court ruling on the rights of the unborn is due to be delivered in Co Limerick on Wednesday.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath also told the Dáil there was “indecent haste” in pushing forward with the Bill.