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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 20 February, 2020

Taoiseach hopes draft abortion legislation can be published this evening

Enda Kenny was speaking in the Dáil this afternoon after the Cabinet had earlier suspended its meeting without agreement on a draft abortion law.

Enda Kenny in the Dáil this afternoon.
Enda Kenny in the Dáil this afternoon.
Image: Screengrab

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has told the Dáil that he hopes draft legislation dealing with the X Case on abortion can be published this evening as the Cabinet broke from its weekly meeting without agreement on the issue earlier.

Kenny said that the meeting broke-up this afternoon without agreement on the draft legislation that proposes to enshrine in the Constitution the right for a woman to access an abortion when her life is at risk, including from suicide.

Saying that 28 items on the Cabinet agenda were dealt with, Kenny said that the meeting broke while discussions on the draft of the Protection of Maternal Life Bill 2013 were under way.

He said this was in order for him to attend a jobs announcement as well as take Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil this afternoon but discussions will resume later today he confirmed.

“I do hope heads of the bill can be published this evening,” he said, adding that the Cabinet will resume its meeting “shortly, well after a little while”.

Kenny insisted that the proposed legislation would give “no new rights” to women in Ireland but said “legal clarity and certainty will be given” by the new law.

The Taoiseach confirmed in response to questions from Mary Lou McDonald from Sinn Féin that it was the intention of the government to have the bill passed through the Oireachtas before the summer recess.

“What government intend here is to deal with the issue within the parameters of the Constitution within the law, taking into account the sensitivities that are obvious in this matter, which is quite complex and very technical, but is about saving lives, the lives of women and their unborn babies,” he said.

Kenny also accused McDonald of “playing politics” with the issue during question time. Ministers are due to gather again around the Cabinet table at 5.30pm this evening.

Read: Cabinet meeting suspended without agreement over abortion laws

Pictures: Cabinet meets protester on way into crucial meeting on abortion

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Hugh O'Connell

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