Fianna Fáil seeks to postpone vote on repeal of Eighth Amendment

Oireachtas committee divided on strategy ahead of meeting today

Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher has written to the Oireachtas committee  the Eighth Amendment  proposing a vote on  recommending whether to repeal be postponed. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher has written to the Oireachtas committee the Eighth Amendment proposing a vote on recommending whether to repeal be postponed. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

Fianna Fáil has requested a vote on repealing the Eighth Amendment should be postponed until the wording of possible legislation is agreed.

The party’s health spokesman Billy Kelleher has written to the Oireachtas committee on the Eighth Amendment chair Catherine Noone proposing such a position.

A number of members of the committee are seeking a vote on repealing the Eighth Amendment at today’s meeting.

However Mr Kelleher is arguing it should be postponed until module two of the committee’s work is concluded.

Module two would look at what legislation would be put in place in the event of a repeal of Article 40.3.3.

The proposal is to be debated later today but it has already been criticised by Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger, who said it went against what the committee had initially agreed.

“Any decision by the Committee to ditch its agreed approach and significantly delay a decision regarding a repeal referendum will be deeply disrespectful to the many women who have been the victims of this constitutional amendment over 34 long years,” Ms Coppinger said.

“It would indicate that members of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are preparing to ‘horse trade’ on the rights of women and will disregard the decisions of the Citizens Assembly.

“I hope the pro-choice and pro-repeal members on the committee will oppose any such approach and that women the length and breadth of the country send messages to the committee that repeal without pro-choice legislation is a denial of women’s human rights.”

It is understood Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael calculate that more members of the committee would vote in favour of repeal if they were aware what was legislation would be put in its place.

Mr Kelleher told The Irish Times he believed it was advisable that members were in receipt of all the information before voting on whether the Eighth Amendment should be repealed.

He denied this went against the committee decision insisting no agreement had been made to vote at the end of each module.

Mr Kelleher said the aim was to secure as much consensus as possible at the committee.