Clare Daly criticises approach to fatal foetal abnormality cases

Bill introduced by Mick Wallace ‘inadequate’ and ‘bad for women’, says Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny clashed with Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly in a row about dealing with incidents of fatal foetal abnormality.

Ms Daly claimed that under the process the Taoiseach was establishing it would be at least 2018 before any proposal was forthcoming to deal with such cases.

She hit out at the delay in dealing with the issue and claimed Mr Kenny was doing nothing to address the issue.

But the Taoiseach told the Dublin Fingal TD that the Bill introduced by Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace, which will be voted on in the Dáil on Thursday, was flawed.


“This Bill is not good for women. It’s bad for women and it’s inadequate,” he said.

Mr Kenny said he was trying to change the current situation, but in order to do that, he was trying to “build consensus and understanding and information for people”.

The Taoiseach said they had put into the programme for government a process that could be gone through rationally, “taking into account the changing attitudes sensitivities of so many people”.


Ms Daly had highlighted a letter she had received from a woman who was pregnant at the same time as her sister.

The woman said her sister’s baby died in the womb, she was medically assisted to deliver the baby, who was buried and the family mourned him.

But she received a fatal foetal abnormality diagnosis and would have none of the same supports as her sister.

“The dignity shown to the tiny corpse of my nephew on his first and final journey home, will not be extended to my son as he will have to be locked in the boot of a car on a ferry journey across the Irish Sea; or have his ashes delivered by courier, weeks later along with the Amazon and Ebay purchases,” the woman said in the letter.

Ms Daly claimed the Government had four times ignored the UN’s demands that the State take action to deal with the issue of abortion in the case of fatal foetal abnormality.

Mr Kenny said that he too received such harrowing accounts from women and it was everyday life. Insisting he was trying to build consensus to change this, Mr Kenny said that the people voted in 1983 and a Constitutional amendment was introduced which was interpreted by the courts.

Article 40.3.3. “kicks in and that’s the challenge”.

He said the services surrounding cases of fatal foetal abnormality “should be improved and we are trying to make arrangements that that be so”.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times