TÁNAISTE EAMON GILMORE has said that this government will not become the seventh to “neglect and ignore” the issue of the Supreme Court ruling abortion on the X Case and said that “legal clarity” needs to be brought to the matter.
At Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil this morning, the death of Savita Halappanavar was again raised with calls for the expert group on abortion’s report – which was delivered to the Health Minister on Tuesday – to be published immediately.
Gilmore said that he expected that copies of the report would be passed to the Taoiseach and himself at some point today but did not say for certain whether it would be published and gave no indication of when it might be.
Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and independent TD Thomas Pringle all called for the report to be published immediately but Gilmore would only say that he expected it will be published.
“This is an appalling loss which I think has rightly touched the hearts of all of the Irish people,” the Tánaiste told the Dáil this morning while adding that the full circumstances of the case were not yet known.
He said he was “deeply concerned” by the circumstances of the Savita case which have emerged in recent days and said it was a moment for “determined action”.
“There are issues which we have to address, to which we need to bring legal clarity,” he said, later adding: ”It is time in my view to bring legal clarity to this whole issue.”
Fianna Fáil’s Niall Collins said that it was incumbent on the government to publish the report and allow a full debate on the issue and asked Gilmore to outline the steps of arriving at a consensus on abortion within government.
Gilmore said: “We’ve heard what Savita’s husband said yesterday and I think as legislators we have a duty to respond and act and deal with it.”
Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said that she feared that the current government would “kick the issue down the road, yet again.”
“We need action, it needs to be speedy,” she told Gilmore.
The Tánaiste said: “My position on this issue is known for a very long time. I am on the public record for over 25 years as to how this issue should be dealt with.”
He later said: “This will not be the seventh government to neglect and ignore this issue.”