Citizens’ Assembly deluged with abortion submissions

Another 3,200 online submissions on Eighth Amendment received in final 24 hours

The Citizens’ Assembly was swamped with submissions on the issue of abortion in the hours before a deadline for submissions passed on Friday.

The assembly sought submissions from interested parties on the future of the eighth amendment, the constitutional provision that underpins Ireland’s strict abortion laws.

Before Friday, the assembly’s offices had received some 4,500 submissions via post and online. However, in the final 24 hours a further 3,200 online submissions arrived along with a large number of further postal submissions.

Groups campaigning on both sides of the abortion debate had urged supporters to make their voices heard before the deadline passed.

In a statement, the assembly said it had received “an extremely high volume” of submissions before the deadline. It advised that the publication of the submissions will start on Monday.

“Submissions will be published in chronological order on a rolling basis categorised by the name or the name of the organisation.

“In the case of personal stories or sensitive submissions, personal data and related identifiable details will be removed on request. The assembly wishes to thank everyone who made a submission.”

99 citizens

The assembly, which is comprised of 99 citizens and is chaired by Supreme Court Judge Mary Laffoy, is discussing the future of the eighth amendment and other issues, and will send a report to Government by the end of June of next year.

It invited submissions on the amendment, inserted into the constitution as article 40.3.3 in 1983, which guarantees the equal right to life of the unborn and the mother. Its discussions on the matter will resume on January 7th.

The assembly began its work on the eighth amendment at a two-day meeting in late November.

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times