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Expert group established to report on ECHR abortion ruling

The group of 14 medics, lawyers and civil servants have six months to report back on how to implement the ECHR judgment.

Carmel Stewart, a lawyer for A B and C, reads the ECHR's ruling at its courtroom in Strasbourg.
Carmel Stewart, a lawyer for A B and C, reads the ECHR's ruling at its courtroom in Strasbourg.
Image: Christian Lutz/AP

THE GOVERNMENT has this evening announced the creation of an expert group which will examine how Ireland can implement a European court ruling on abortion rights.

The 14-member group will be chaired by High Court judge Justice Seán Ryan, who has previously chaired the committee which drew up guidelines for compensation for survivors of abuse in residential institutions.

The group, appointed by health minister James Reilly, has been given six months to present the government with options on how it can implement the European Court of Human Rights’ judgment in the case of A, B and C versus Ireland.

In that case, it was found that while women do not enjoy an automatic right to an abortion, Ireland had violated the European Convention on Human Rights by not providing abortion procedures in line with the rights enshrined in the Constitution.

In the ‘X Case’ in 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution permitted abortion in circumstances where there was a “real and substantial risk” to the life of the mother, including the possibility of suicide.

The membership of the group is as follows:

  • Dr Peter Boylan, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
  • Dr Mary Holohan, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
  • Dr Imelda Ryan, Psychiatrist
  • Dr Ailish Ni Riain, General Practitioner
  • Dr Mark Walsh, General Practitioner
  • Ms Christine O’Rourke, Office of the Attorney General
  • Ms Mary O’Toole, Senior Counsel
  • Ms Joanelle O’Cleirigh, Solicitor
  • Ms Denise Kirwin, Solicitor
  • Dr Deirdre Madden, Medical Council
  • Dr Maura Pidgeon, An Bord Altranais
  • Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health
  • Mr Bernard Carey, Assistant Secretary, Department of Health

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