Varadkar says he will not lobby FG colleagues on abortion law

Legislation too restrictive and needs to be examined, says Minister for Health

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar  has said there are very diverse within Fine Gael  and in Irish society on the need to repeal the eighth amendment. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has said there are very diverse within Fine Gael and in Irish society on the need to repeal the eighth amendment. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has insisted he will not lobby his Fine Gael colleagues on the need to repeal the eighth amendment.

Mr Varadkar said it is his personal view that the laws on abortion in Ireland are too restrictive and they need to be examined.

It is his belief the issues surrounding the risk to a mother’s life and the cases of fatal foetal abnormalities should take priority.

Mr Varadkar said: “I don’t have always the answers on this. I don’t think anyone does. People may say they do but they don’t.

“What the Taoiseach has said we will do is an approach I very strongly support, which is establishing a commission in the early part of the next government and giving that commission the authority to make recommendations to the Dáil, after which there will be a free vote on the matter.”

Diverse views

Mr Varadkar said there are very diverse views within his own party and in Irish society on the need to repeal the eighth amendment.

The Minister said he would not be encouraging others to follow his lead on this issue.

He said: “It is something people have to consider themselves and understand themselves and talk about with their family and friends. It is a very sensitive issue, it is a very divisive issue and not one that we should pretend is going to go away.”

Mr Varadkar and his ministerial colleagues James Reilly, Frances Fitzgerald and Paschal Donohoe had urged Taoiseach Enda Kenny to act on the issue.