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Kenny to call convention on abortion if returned to power

The Taoiseach was speaking at a meeting of the British Irish Council in London.

22984066489_a2dc73a2b3_o Enda Kenny, pictured with Martin McGuinness and Northern Irish secretary Theresa Villiers at the British Irish Council meeting

THE TAOISEACH HAS declared his intention to call a constitutional convention on the controversial eighth amendment should he be returned to power at the general election early next year.

Enda Kenny was speaking at a meeting of the British Irish Council in London.

RTE reports that the Taoiseach said the convention to debate the amendment will be held within six months of Fine Gael’s re-election should that come to pass.

He said that any discussion of the issue had to be a thorough, empathetic and comprehensive process.

The Taoiseach earlier this week told his party colleagues that he would consider allowing a free vote on the possible repeal of the eighth amendment, which gives equal rights to a mother and her unborn child.

At that time he proposed that the issue be considered by a citizen-led body, similar to the Constitutional Convention that was implemented in recent times.

Kenny has come under pressure to deal with the issue of the eighth amendment in recent times, with his former health and current children’s minister James Reilly calling for its repeal in an interview with the Sunday Independent last weekend.

15/5/2013 eHealth Week 2013 Enda Kenny and James Reilly Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Speaking last night Kenny said that there was no issue between himself and Reilly, despite reports to the contrary.

Labour are leading the charge in the coalition regarding the eighth, with its repeal forming a cornerstone of the party’s re-election campaign.

This week Labour published proposals that would see it commit to the repeal of the eighth and its replacement with legislation for abortion on the grounds of risk to life, risk to health, rape and fatal foetal abnormality.

While Fine Gael have hitherto been more reticent on the issue, Kenny’s speech yesterday could be seen as an attempt to deal with the issue head-on.

While this may take care of the issue until after the election, it would mean the case for repealing the eighth would certainly have to be dealt with in the early stages of the new government’s tenure.

Read: This is the law that Labour wants to replace the 8th Amendment

Read: “Protection of life surpasses religion and politics. We cannot allow this country to promote death.”

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