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State of the Nation

Fine Gael can't get away from the abortion issue

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everyone’s talking about…

A Fine Gael councillor and general election candidate has called for a referendum to be held on repealing the 8th Amendment, which gives equal importance to the right of the unborn to that of the mother..

Kate O'Connell / YouTube

Speaking at a Dublin City Council meeting this week, Kate O’Connell noted that about 12 women make the journey to the UK or elsewhere every day to have terminations and said: “We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the thousands of women who have made that lonely journey since 1983.”

O’Connell said the passing of the same-sex marriage referendum was “bittersweet” given “the daily inequality faced by Irish women in this state of ours”.

It is my considered opinion that repealing the 8th Amendment is an absolute necessity for the health, the safety and the equality of Irish women.
Society benefits when women only have the children they want, are able to rear and to rear well.

In a recent survey carried out by this website, just 32% or 27 out of 85 members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party responded.

Of those who participated, they are quite divided.

Fine Gael’s doesn’t have an official position on whether or not to repeal the 8th Amendment. It will be addressed in the coming months ahead of the publication of the party’s general election manifesto.

Kate O’Connell, who is expecting her third child, takes a very different position on abortion to her Dublin Bay South rival Lucinda Creighton.

Video / YouTube

Creighton was expelled from Fine Gael over her opposition to the government legislating for the X Case in July 2013.

A new poll has found more than two-thirds of people think the government should decriminalise abortion.

The debate on the issue is likely to intensify in the coming months, with many pushing for a referendum on the 8th Amendment during the lifetime of the next government.

The agenda

  • Health Minister Leo Varadkar will answer questions in the Dáil at 9.30am.
  • Following this TDs will debate bills on gender recognition bill and the national minimum wage.
  • Nama chairman Frank Daly and chief executive Brendan McDonagh will appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) at 9.30am to discuss allegations surrounding the sale of the organisation’s Northern Ireland loan book.
  • There will be another full day at the banking inquiry, with the following witnesses appearing:

- Cathy Herbert, former Special Advisor to Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, at 9.30am;
- Derek Quinlan, former Executive Chairman and Founder of Quinlan Private, at 11.30am;
- Brendan McDonagh, former Director of Finance, Technology and Risk at the National Treasury Management Agency, at 2.30pm;
- Michael Somers, former Chief Executive of the NTMA at 4.30pm.

  • The Health Committee will discuss banning so-called ‘legal highs’ at 9.30am, before turning its attention to the National Drugs Strategy at 11.15am.
  • The final Leaders’ Questions of the week will take place at noon.

Inside Leinster House

There was a lighter moment at the banking inquiry with Brian Cowen requested a toilet break – much to the relief of several people.

Hugh O'Connell / YouTube

What the others are saying

  • Labour chief whip Emmet Stagg confirmed he wrote an email to a constituent in which he criticised recent changes made to the One-Parent Family Payment, RTÉ reports.
  • According to the Irish Independent, Fine Gael TDs reacted furiously at a party meeting after Taoiseach Enda Kenny refused to take action to prevent “disgusting” pension increases being paid to former ministers.
  • A number of papers are reporting that the opposition has accused Enda Kenny of not being committed to Seanad reform following a discussion on the issues yesterday.

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Originally published: 9am

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