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Experts in Leinster House next week for discussions on abortion issues

The Oireachtas Health Committee will hold three days of public hearings.

Anti-abortion posters seen in Dublin before Christmas
Anti-abortion posters seen in Dublin before Christmas
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

A NUMBER OF experts from a variety of fields – both medical and legal – will attend public hearings at Leinster House next week.

The Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children is planning three days of meetings about the implementation of the Government’s decision following the publication of the Expert Group report into the landmark ABC versus Ireland judgement.

The Committee says the aim of the meetings is to “gather information which will be of assistance” in drafting relevant legislation. It intends to furnish a report to Government on the three-day consultation by the end of the month.

Among the contributors are the masters of the country’s maternity hospitals, as well as pro-choice movements and anti-abortion organisations.

All hearings will be in public session and streamed live on the Oireachtas website.

“The Government has decided that it will proceed to address the issues raised in the ABC judgement with legislation and regulations,” said chairman Jerry Buttimer.

“Our meetings next week will provide an opportunity for Committee members to listen and engage with a wide range of groups, including medical and legal experts, as well as advocacy groups and churches.”

The Fine Gael TD insisted that the hearings will be conducted in a balance, fair and calm manner.

“While we recognise that many people have divergent and deep-held views on the issues involved, we expect that the meetings will be held in a manner that is respectful and tolerant,” he added.

The schedule

-All hearings to take place in the Seanad Chamber

Tuesday, 8 January

Session 1: 9.30am – 11.30am:

  • Department of Health
  • Irish Medical Council

Session 2: 11.45am – 1.45pm

  • Dr Rhona Mahony, Master at the National Maternity Hospital
  • Dr Sam Coulter Smyth, Master at the Rotunda Hospital
  • Dr Mary McCaffrey, Kerry Hospital, Tralee

Session 3: 2.45pm to 4.45pm

  • Dr Anthony McCarthy, College of Psychiatry Ireland
  • Dr Joanne Fention, College of Psychiatry Ireland
  • Dr John Sheehan, College of Psychiatry Ireland
  • Professor Patricia Casey, Dept. of Adult Psychiatry, UCD & Mater Misercordiae University Hospital
  • Professor Veronica O’Kane, Dept. of Psychiatry, Tallaght Hospital

Session 4: 5pm to 7pm

  • Niall Behan, CEO of the Irish Family Planning Association
  • The Institute of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists
  • Maternal Death Inquiry Ireland

Wednesday, 9 January (legal hearings)

Session 1: 9.30am – 11.30am

  • Jennifer Schweppe, University of Limerick
  • Ciara Staunton, NUI Galway
  • Dr Simon Mills, Law Library

Session 2: 11.45am – 1.45pm

  • Bar Council of Ireland
  • Irish Council of Civil Liberties

Session 3: 2.45pm – 4.15pm

  • Professor William Binchy, Trinity College Dublin
  • Hon. Judge Catherine McGuinness

Thursday, 10 January

Session 1: 9.30am – 11.30am

  • Irish Catholic Bishops Conference
  • Church of Ireland
  • Presbyterian Church of Ireland
  • Methodist Church of Ireland
  • Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland
Session 2: 11.45am – 1.45pm
  • Caroline Simons and Dr Berry Kiely of the Pro-Life Campaign
  • Dr Eoghan de Faoite and Dr Seán O’Domhnaill of Youth Defence
  • Patrick Carr and David Manley of Family & Life
  • Breda O’Brien of the Iona Institute
Session 3: 2.45pm – 4.45pm
  • Sinéad Ahern of Choice Ireland
  • Orla O’Connor,  National Women’s Council of Ireland
  • Director of Action on X

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