‘End the stigma and shame’ of sending women to UK, says Coveney

Coveney appeals to undecided men to vote Yes to repeal the Eight Amendment

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has appealed to men to vote Yes in tomorrow's abortion referendum.

In the Dáil Mr Coveney said that men who were unsure about voting in favour of repeal of the Eighth Amendment, to think about someone close to them who could be affected.

Mr Coveney who previously expressed concern about abortion and about Government proposals to allow abortion on request up to 12 weeks, said it was time “to end the secrecy and the stigma” about terminations.

Urging the electorate to vote Yes, Mr Coveney directly appealed to men, undecided about how to vote in the referendum.


Reminding the Dáil of what women with crisis pregnancies had to do, he said “we deemed it OK to give a woman an address in Birmingham or Manchester, and to send them on their way on their own”.

Speaking directly to undecided men the Tánaiste asked them to “try and see that story through the eyes of somebody close to you”.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Pearse Doherty praised Mr Coveney for the way he had dealt with the issue.

Mr Doherty also praised women who told their personal stories about abortion through the campaign, and said that it took their stories, speaking publicly about private personal matters, to bring the issue to a referendum.

He said mothers, sisters, wives, daughters colleagues and friends were affected by this and “need our compassion. They also deserve our trust, to make medical decisions about their own bodies in their own interests.”

Labour leader Brendan Howlin spoke of people who came to public meetings in his Wexford constituency to tell their story for the first time.

“And their stories can’t be untold now. They can’t be unsaid, they can’t be hidden again and they can’t be ignored again and the only way to do that is with a Yes vote.

He said they had to refute the “attempted con job” by some who claimed that it was possible to change the law without changing the Constitution. “We have to be very clear”, that it is impossible to change the law without a referendum.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times