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Pro-life TDs and Senators to host cross-party meeting ahead of abortion vote

A number of TDs and Senators have organised a cross-party meeting for colleagues tomorrow evening, billing it as “one of the last occasions to discuss one of the most important decisions of your political life with like-minded colleagues”.

Fine Gael senator Fidelma Healy-Eames has said she will oppose the abortion legislation.
Fine Gael senator Fidelma Healy-Eames has said she will oppose the abortion legislation.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

A NUMBER OF pro-life TDs and Senators have urged colleagues to attend a final cross-party meeting before the anticipated vote on abortion legislation later this week.

In an email circulated in Leinster House this afternoon, a number of pro-life TDs and Senators – some of whom have already indicated they will vote against the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill – have urged colleagues to attend.

The email describes the meeting in Leinster House tomorrow evening as “one of the last occasions to discuss one of the most important decisions of your political life with like-minded colleagues”.

The email, seen by TheJournal.ie, is signed by Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín, Fine Gael Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames, Fianna Fáil Senator Jim Walsh, Fine Gael TD Terence Flanagan, independent senator Feargal Quinn, and Fianna Fáil TD Seán Ó Fearghail.

It describes the impending vote on the abortion legislation as “one of the most important moral issues of our generation” and claims that TDs are being asked to vote “for the provision of the direct and intentional ending of another human beings life”.

It points to major concerns about the “regards the diminution of the right to life of the unborn child, the absence of medical evidence, the provision of late term abortions and the facilitation of the disablement of healthy children for life”.

The cross-party meeting is expected to hear from a legal expert as well as an expert on the issue of abortion, according to Tóibín who told TheJournal.ie today that these meetings are not unusual.

‘Not unusual’

“This is not unusual, there’s been a meeting nearly every week for the past two months. It’s not always organised by the same people,” he said.

“Certain TDs would bring in concerns or people who have had abortions to get their experiences of it, we’d hear from people who have had children with fatal foetal abnormalities.

“The purpose is to provide as much information as possible while they [TDs and Senators] are making up their minds,” he said, confirming that he would not be support the legislation when a vote is called later this week.

He added: “A lot of TDs haven’t come to a final decision on which way they are going to vote.

“A lot of TDs are making this decision and they have been doing so in isolation in a way because there are obviously receiving counsel from both sides of the argument but a lot of them are keeping their own counsel to themselves.”

The second stage of the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill will be debated in the Dáil this week following its introduction to the house last Thursday.

The first vote on the landmark legislation is expected on Friday.

Read: ‘Struggling’ TDs in discussions on abortion Bill referendum

Read: Junior Minister dismisses notion of abortion referendum

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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