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Fine Gael TDs suggest 'sunset clause' in abortion legislation

A number of TDs have put forward a sunset clause, which would mean abortion legislation would be reviewed after a number of years.

Fine Gael TD Michael Creed
Fine Gael TD Michael Creed
Image: Leon Farrell Photocall Ireland

A NUMBER OF Fine Gael TDs have put forward the idea of a ‘sunset clause’ for abortion legislation in Ireland.

Fine Gael TD Michael Creed wrote to the Taoiseach suggesting that a sunset clause be included in abortion legislation, which would involve a review of legislation after a number of years, after which it could be further extended, RTÉ’s The Week in Politics said today.

He believes it would provide comfort to those who fear the “opening of the floodgates” if the X case was legislated for. It is expected that the law will be enacted in July.

Creed’s idea is supported by fellow Fine Gael TDs John O’Mahony and Deputy Jim Daly.

If it the idea of a sunset clause was put forward, it will go before the Oireachtas Health Committee, who is to report back to government on the heads of the bill.

Minister Pat Rabbitte told the programme the draft heads of the bill “will emerge very quickly now” and that the legislation will be enacted before the Dáil’s summer recess.

He said the  phrase ‘sunset clause’ implies that the legislation fades away after a specific date put into the legislation, and he is “not sure that’s appropriate” but he would have no objection to the matter being reviewed as does happen in any event.

He said that “what we are about in Dáil Eireann is reviewing the legislation” and that this means this legislation will be reviewed as per normal anyway.

Last straw

Rabbitte also said that “Galway is the last straw”, referring to the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar of a miscarriage, and that “we have to take our courage in our hands as legislators and do what is necessary in the interests of women’s health in this country”.

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Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil TD Sean Fleming told the programme that his party is a pro-life party, and they do want legal clarity on the issue.

He said the only key issue is the issue of suicide, and they want legislation that will deal with that but does not lead to a “UK-style abortion regime”.

He said it wouldn’t be good for a sunset clause to mean that the legislation would collapse after a few years, but a review would be welcomed.

Read: McGuinness: Sinn Féin is an anti-abortion party>

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