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Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
Fianna Fáil

Fianna Fáil to debate its pro-life stance as Ard Fheis gets under way

The party is to debate motions which include reforming the way a party leader is elected and the circumstances under which it would go into coalition government.

REFORMS TO THE way Fianna Fáil elects its future leaders are part of a number of proposals being put forward at the party’s Ard Fheis in Dublin which gets under way this evening.

The party will meet for its 74th Ard Fheis at the RDS in the capital this evening with party leader Micheál Martin opening the event from 7pm and making his main leader’s address tomorrow night.

The Ard Fheis will debate a number of motions this weekend including four proposals which call for the main opposition party’s pro-life stance to be maintained. One motion calls for a referendum to be held on the issue.

Party leader Micheál Martin has previously told TheJournal.ie that his party has an issue with including suicide risk in any legislation for the X Case and has declined to say how many doctors should assess the risk of suicide in a woman seeking on abortion on the grounds of risk to her life.

As well as abortion, the Ard Fheis will also debate a proposal from the party’s Ard Chomhairle – the party executive – to reform the way the party leader is elected.

The motion calls for a consultation process on the possibility of involving ordinary members in the election of future party leaders.

Another motion calls for the reform to the party’s Rule 61 on participation in coalition governments. Specifically that any draft programme for government be presented to voting members of the organisation at a special Ard Fheis.

The motion states: “The voting members will vote on a OMOV (One Member One Vote) basis to accept or reject the draft Programme,” and adds: “Only if a simple majority of those casting valid votes vote in favour of the draft Programme for Government shall it be approved.”

Another motion put forward by the party’s youth wing – Ógra Fianna Fáil – calls for the abolition of the Seanad but for the introduction of what it terms a “revitalised chamber”.

The new chamber would see the scrapping of the Taoiseach’s 11 nominees, the retention of vocational panels but with a wider electorate, and 5 seats for Northern Irish citizens and the diaspora.

Read: Is Galway West TD Noel Grealish joining Fianna Fáil?

Read: Fianna Fáil criticises Tánaiste for ‘snubbing’ men-only dinner in Georgia

Video: ‘I’m not ruling anything out’ – Micheál Martin on Fine Gael or Sinn Féin coalition

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