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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 22 November, 2014

Group says lack of invite to Oireachtas abortion hearings “a grave injustice”

TFMR Ireland said that it is upset that, despite numerous requests, it has has not been invited to take part in this week’s Oireachtas committee hearings on abortion legislation in Ireland.

Fine Gael TD for Cork South Central, Jerry Buttimer
Fine Gael TD for Cork South Central, Jerry Buttimer
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

A GROUP REPRESENTING couples who terminated a pregnancy following a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality has said it is extremely disappointed at not being able to address a committee on the issue of abortion legislation in Ireland.

The Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children is to hold three days of meetings on the issue, beginning tomorrow. The meetings are on the implementation of the Government’s decision following the publication of the Expert Group report into the ABC versus Ireland judgement.

The Government is due to draft legislation and regulation, and the aim of these meetings is to gather information which will be of assistance in this, with a report being given to Government following its completion.

There will be a number of contributors to the discussion, including members of pro-choice and anti-abortion groups, masters of maternity hospitals and other medical and legal experts.

TMFR Ireland

TFMR Ireland describes itself as a group comprising couples “who have made the heartbreaking decision to terminate a much-wanted pregnancy following a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality”.

The group told TheJournal.ie:

We are the only campaign group with first-hand experience of having to leave Ireland to seek a medical termination outside of Ireland. As such, we are extremely disappointed that despite numerous requests we have not been invited to address the upcoming Oireachtas Committee

The members said they feel “it is a grave injustice that the views of couples who have spoken out publicly despite their grief are not to be heard”.

“We sincerely hope that the Government will take action to ensure future legislation allows for the option of termination in cases of a fatal diagnosis,” added TFMR Ireland.

Debate

Chairman of the committee, Fine Gael Deputy Jerry Buttimer, spoke to Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio today, saying that he thinks it is very important to have this debate, and that he hopes it is held in a “very calm, respectful and dignified manner where all sides can have their opinion heard”.

Deputy Buttimer added that it is a “complex and sensitive issue with divergent viewpoints” but it is “a sign of our maturity as a nation” that  these hearings with groups expressing different viewpoints can be held.

“We must consult, we must listen and we must implement,” said Deputy Buttimer. He said they are facilitating as many people as they can, and those who can’t take part have been asked to make written submissions. “We will be as fair and as balanced as we possibly can be,” he said.

Read: Experts in Leinster House next week for discussions on abortion issues>

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