Eighth Amendment

Labour's demise puts abortion off the agenda for a decade, claims minister

The party’s collapse means social change will not happen, according to Kevin Humphreys.

A REFERENDUM ON the Eighth Amendment could be off the agenda for “five or ten years” because of Labour’s demise, one of the party’s junior ministers has claimed.

Kevin Humphreys, whose seat in Dublin Bay South is under serious threat this evening, believes that social change doesn’t happen without Labour in government.

Labour had made a referendum on the Eighth Amendment, which enshrines the equal right to life of the mother and unborn in the Constitution, a key part of its manifesto and claimed it would be the only party that could deliver on this pledge.


The party has been wiped out across the country with sources now indicating that the junior coalition partner will only win between 7 and 9 seats having gone into the election with 33. It is unlikely to be part of any government that is formed in the coming weeks.

Humphreys himself is facing an uphill task to secure the last seat in Dublin Bay South where he could lose out to Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan.

“What we see now, the most likely outcome, is the amalgamation of possibly the Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael coalition and, even with Sinn Féin, they are mainly conservative parties,” Humphreys told this evening.

The rural wing will not allow the Eighth Amendment to come back up on the agenda.

71 Count Centre  90410142 Kevin Humphreys at the RDS today

But it’s not just the Eighth Amendment, and people on the doors said the Eighth Amendment was a red line issue, but they didn’t vote on the red line issue.

“They also said it was a red line issue in relation to children having to get baptised to go to the local school. Again, the number of people that said those things were red line issues actually didn’t vote for the Labour party.

This sets back social change for at least five years until Labour rebuilds and puts a progressive agenda back out there. It could be five or ten years. It really does depend on what happens.

Humphreys said he did not think people realised that not voting for Labour means “social change doesn’t happen in Ireland”.

He added: “Nobody’s quite sure what’s going to happen in the coming weeks, but certainly I believe the progressive social change that we’ve seen over the last five years is probably coming to a stop now, because people didn’t vote along the red line issues.”

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