Varadkar to reveal abortion views in wake of crunch Cabinet session

Taoiseach indicates that his previously espoused anti-abortion attitude has ‘evolved’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: “I am Taoiseach, so ultimately the question that we’re putting to the Irish people has to be one that is sound.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will make his view on abortion known after next Monday evening's special Cabinet meeting, he has said.

Speaking to journalists at Davos in Switzerland where he is attending the World Economic Forum, the Taoiseach said that he would be happy to outline his position if the Cabinet reaches a conclusion as expected about an abortion referendum next Monday.

“This is a very important issue. I didn’t think it would be possible to shoehorn it into an agenda of 20 or 30 items. For that reason we’re having a special meeting on Monday and I hope . . . the Cabinet will agree to proceed . . . with a referendum and also legislation. And I’ll certainly give my views on all of that after the Cabinet meeting if we have an agreement,” he said.

Mr Varadkar added that on Monday evening, subject to there being an agreement at Cabinet, “I’ll be happy to make my views known on the referendum and the legislation thereafter.


“I am in a different position. I am Taoiseach, so ultimately the question that we’re putting to the Irish people has to be one that is sound and has to be one that the Attorney General can endorse and also I want to, as much as I can, respective of the fact that there is a free of vote, bring my Cabinet and my party with me.”

Mr Varadkar, who previously espoused anti-abortion views, said that his views on the subject have “evolved”. But he has declined to give his specific views until the Government agrees on a referendum and legislation to replace the constitutional ban on abortion.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone has also said it was time for politicians to show leadership on the issue.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times