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Abortion bill passes final Dáil vote

The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill has passed the final stage of the Dáil this evening, after two day of heated debates.

THE PROTECTION OF Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 has passed the final Dáil vote.

The bill was voted on by TDs following a day of intense debate on the 165 amendments tabled on the bill. It passed a final Dáil vote this evening by 127 votes to 31 and received both cross-party support and cross-party opposition.

The landmark legislation will permit abortion in Ireland in limited circumstances. Only one party was allowed a free vote on the bill, Fianna Fáil, while other parties voted in support of the bill.

The TDs within those parties under the whip system who voted against bill will find themselves expelled from the parliamentary party this evening.

During the first Dáil vote on the bill before it went to committee stage, four Fine Gael TDs and one Sinn Féin TD voted against it, and were expelled from their respective parliamentary parties.

Tonight, all eyes were on Fine Gael Junior Minister Lucinda Creighton, to see whether she would vote against her party’s whip and find herself expelled from the party.

As it happened she voted against the Government well before the final overall vote. This happened during a vote on amendment 56 – immediately losing Creighton her place in the Fine Gael parliamentary party, and ultimately will take her job as Minister of State for European Affairs. She said later that she was “deeply disappointed” to have to vote against her party but that she felt aspects of the bill were based on “flawed logic”. She also voted against the Bill in the final vote.

Now that the bill has been approved by the Dáil, it will go to the Seanad for debate, beginning tomorrow.

Additional reporting by Susan Daly and Michelle Hennessy

Explainer: What exactly are Ireland’s politicians voting on tonight?>

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