Seanad role in vote on any abortion legislation emphasised

Independent Senator David Norris claims 12-week provision ‘foolish’

Fianna Fail Senator Terry Leyden has said the media should realise any abortion legislation must be voted on by the Seanad as well as the Dáil.

“It might have been very convenient for the Government had it abolished Seanad Éireann, but that is not the case,” he told the senate.

He said there would be a referendum and, depending on the decision made by the people, it could be the task of the Oireachtas to initiate, support or oppose abortion legislation.

“Particularly in television and radio, I notice constant mention of a decision by Dáil Éireann,” Mr Leyden added. “It is not a decision by Dáil Éireann but by the Oireachtas under the Constitution.’’

Independent Senator David Norris said he thought he was the first person in Ireland to include abortion in a manifesto. That was 1977, which was a long time ago, he added.

Mr Norris said too he thought the Government would be foolish if it attached to the forthcoming referendum on the Eighth amendment suggestions of abortion being freely available up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Michael O'Regan

Michael O'Regan

Michael O’Regan is a former parliamentary correspondent of The Irish Times