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Protesters outside the conference yesterday. Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland

Labour conference to conclude after motions on abortion, Vatican

The party will also discuss international affairs, justice and equality and local government.

THE LABOUR PARTY’S annual conference is to conclude this afternoon after delegates hear discussions on international affairs, justice and equality and local government.

Motions to put human rights protection at the core of relations with China and to maintain the Irish overseas aid budget will be voted on this morning.

The Tuam branch of the party has also asked the party to consider pushing for the reopening of the Vatican embassy.

During a debate on justice and equality, the Donegal South West branch of the party will look for confirmation that the party will intensify its commitment to bring bankers, developers and a number of politicians to task “for the part they played in ruining” the Irish economy.

Another motion will be tabled during the same session relating to the “legislative void” preventing the termination of a pregnancy where the woman’s life is in danger. The Trinity College Dublin branch of the party has also called for the legal recognition of a woman’s right to abortion when she has become pregnant from rape or incest or if there is a substantial threat to her health.

Last night, Galway East TD Colm Keaveney was selected as the party’s new chairman, defeating fellow Galwayman Derek Nolan for the job.

The conference has been marred somewhat by violent outbreaks between protesters and Gardaí. Pepper spray was used on some demonstrators who Gardaí said were directing violence at authorities.

However, the majority of the several thousand protesters marched peacefully outside NUI Galway.

The centrepiece of the conference was leader Eamon Gilmore’s speech last night which focused on Ireland’s political and economic recovery.

He told Labour’s delegates that most of the hard work had already been achieved by the current government but conceded that two more difficult budgets would be required.

Gilmore said he was “deeply frustrated” about the slow progress being made with the issue of distressed mortgages. He said the party must do more to help families who feel that time is running out.

He said that himself and the Taoiseach have taken “personal responsibility” to drive this agenda forward.

Watch the conference live here>

Gilmore’s speech in full: ‘Our Republic will be fair, just and renewed’>

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