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Unions call for X Case legislation, say delay is 'absolutely repugnant'

Officials from SIPTU, UNITE and the Women’s Committee of the ICTU presented a statement to Taoiseach Enda Kenny earlier this morning which called for immediate legislation on the issue.

Ethel Buckley from SIPTU, Máire Mulcahy from ICTU Womens Council and Taryn Trainor from UNITE outside the Dail earlier today.
Ethel Buckley from SIPTU, Máire Mulcahy from ICTU Womens Council and Taryn Trainor from UNITE outside the Dail earlier today.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

SIPTU, UNITE AND the Women’s Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) have today called for immediate action from government to legislate for the X Case.

Officials from the three groups presented a statement to Taoiseach Enda Kenny earlier this morning which called for legislation to be enacted that would not contain any restrictions that would make abortion “unavailable in practice”.

The move comes following reports last weekend that the Protection of Maternal Life bill would mean that women with suicidal ideation who wished to have an abortion would have to face six medical professionals.

In a joint statement, the unions said that any such restriction would be “callous, unacceptable and fly in the face of the X Case ruling of the Supreme Court and the ABC ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.”

The regional equalities organiser with UNITE, Taryn Trainor, explained today’s move, saying that Ireland’s trade union movement had “a proud record of campaigning for equality and human rights.”

“UNITE is calling on the Government to bring forward X-case legislation immediately, and to ensure that a woman can easily access her rights under the legislation,” she said, adding:

Women account for around 50 per cent of UNITE’s membership in the Republic of Ireland. As a trade union, we cannot accept a situation where the lives of our members continue to be put at risk because of a failure to legislate for the X case judgement.

Ethel Buckley of SUPTU said that the 20-year wait for legislation in this area was adding to the suffering of victims, while the chair of the ICTU Women’s Committee, Máire Mulcahy, said that it was “absolutely repugnant that the State exposes a woman’s life to danger by the absence of such legislation.”

Read: Reilly: Suicidal pregnant women won’t have to face six-doctor panel >

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Paul Hyland

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