complex issue

Fianna Fáil doesn't want to repeal the 8th Amendment

Micheál Martin didn’t respond to our survey, while others had an identical reply.

IN OUR SURVEY of Oireachtas members on the 8th Amendment, 18 Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators responded.

mm and eamon Micheál Martin and Éamon Ó Cuív Photocall Ireland Photocall Ireland

Of this, ten said they are not in favour of repealing the amendment, which gives equal importance to the right of the unborn to that of the mother.

The other eight were unable to give a Yes or No answer, citing the complexity of the issue.

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Some 15 people, including party leader Micheál Martin, did not respond.

  • How did your TD and/or Senator respond to our survey? Check here.

Deputies Barry Cowen, Timmy Dooley, Michael McGrath, Robert Troy, health spokesperson Billy Kelleher, and Senator Mary White, the party’s sole female representative in the Oireachtas, sent an identical response to It read:

I do not believe there is a simple yes or no to this sensitive and complex question. The people will want to know what is going to replace the 8th Amendment – whether this would be an added article to the constitution or whether it would be legislation alone. A straightforward deletion would mean the people would never be consulted again on this issue and it would be the prerogative of the legislature.

White added that the issue should not be ”party political”.

Fianna Fail Free Travel Pass Reviews Mary White Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Senator Denis O’Donovan said, as Leas-Chathaoirleach of the Seanad, he isn’t taking a position on the topic.

The recently-elected Carlow-Kilkenny TD Bobby Aylward said he wasn’t going to comment on the issue at the moment as he was only recently elected.

At Fianna Fáil’s Ard Fheis in April (where about 3,000 people attended), just 30-40 members were present for a vote on the issue. The majority voted to maintain the party’s position of not repealing the 8th Amendment.

At the time, some delegates complained that motions including this one were delayed and voted on well after the surrounding debate, and by a very small percentage of the party’s members. The vote is not binding.

Senator Thomas Byrne, who is not in favour of repealing the amendment, has taken to Twitter to share his thoughts on the issue:

The 8th Amendment, Article 40.3.3, was added to the Constitution following a referendum on 7 September 1983.

It reads: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

Read all’s 8th Amendment survey stories

Related: Most politicians want to repeal the 8th Amendment – just don’t ask Fine Gael

Read: Labour and Sinn Féin want to repeal the 8th amendment, but not everyone is on the same page

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