Minister predicts abortion referendum ‘in coming years’

Donohoe ‘certain’ Eighth amendment will go before a citizen’s convention first

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe has said believes there will be a referendum on abortion in the coming years.

The Programme for Partnership commits to establishing a citizens’ convention to examine the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which gives equal right of life to the mother and child.

Mr Donohoe said he is “certain” abortion laws will be put to a public vote in the near future.

“There will be a referendum in relation to that matter in the coming years,” Mr Donohoe told Newstalk Breakfast.


“But what I am certain will happen first is the process that we have committed to in relation to considering this issue - that will happen - and it is my view that that will lead to a referendum on this issue in the coming years.”

If the convention proposes a change in the constitutional article, which gives equal right of life to the mother and child, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil TDs will be allowed a free vote.

According to the National Women’s Council at least 59 members of the new Dáil are in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment.

A large number of both the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael parties are said to be supportive about allowing for abortion in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities, rape and incest.

Sinn Féin and the Labour Party are in favour of a repealing or a replacing the amendment. A number of Independent TDs including Dublin Fingal TD Clare Daly, Wexford TD Mick Wallace, and Dublin South-Central TD Joan Collins will also back the change, as will the Green Party and the Anti-Austerity Alliance-People before Profit Alliance.