Bruton cannot say how Government will react to UN abortion finding

Opposition TDs demand issue be speedily resolved

Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton. “I absolutely sympathise with and understand the concern of Deputies for any woman with a fatal foetal abnormality”

Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton. “I absolutely sympathise with and understand the concern of Deputies for any woman with a fatal foetal abnormality”

 

Minister for Education Richard Bruton said he could not say what action the Government would take in response to the United Nations Human Rights Committee’s finding on Ireland’s abortion ban.

The UN finding that a woman carrying a foetus with a fatal abnormality was subjected to discrimination and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in the Republic was raised yesterday in the Dáil.

Mr Bruton, who was taking the Order of Business on the Government’s behalf, said he did not have the opportunity to see the report from the committee. “I absolutely sympathise with and understand the concern of Deputies for any woman with a fatal foetal abnormality,’’ he added.

Citizens’ assembly

Independent TD Clare Daly said it was not acceptable for the Minister to say he could not answer for the Government, given it was an issue of international human rights legislation.

Groundbreaking

Ireland

“Not only is the Government, in the statement, obliged to provide her with an effective remedy, including compensation, but it is obliged to prevent similar violations in the future,’’ Ms Daly added.

Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly asked when the citizens’ assembly would be set up. “When will the membership be known, and will it be mandated to recommend a referendum on repealing the Eight Amendment?’’

Independent TD Catherine Connolly said the UN had called on Ireland to legalise practices for pregnancies involving fatal foetal abnormalities. “It is important the voices of women are heard in this chamber.”

Independents 4 Change TD Joan Collins said a citizens’ assembly should not deal with the issue. “We discussed this in the last Dáil in a lot of detail and we should be moving quite quickly now to repeal the Eighth Amendment,’’ she added.

Labour TD Jan O’Sullivan asked if the views of other parties in the Dáil would be taken on board.