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Rabbitte: We won't revisit abortion issue in the lifetime of this government

The economy continues to dominate and the issue of abortion will not be revisited by this government, Pat Rabbitte has said.

Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive/Press Association Images

COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER PAT Rabbitte has ruled the possibility of the government returning to the abortion issue to address cases of fatal foetal abnormality or where the woman’s health is at risk in the coming years.

With the Dáil having passed legislation that will provide for abortions in circumstances where there is a real and substantial risk to the life of a woman, including risk of suicide, Rabbittee told RTÉ today he does not envisage the government revisiting the issue again in its current term.

“The economy continues to be the issue that dominates in politics at the moment because of the environment in which we find ourselves and I don’t see us coming back to this issue in the lifetime of this government,” he told The Week in Politics.

However, Rabbitte admitted that he would like to deal with the issue of fatal foetal abnormalities, but he said the advice from the Attorney General was that this could not be done in the current Constitutional position.

“I would like to deal with the issue of fatal foetal abnormality but he Attorney’s advice to government and general Constitutional opinion is that you can’t do that within our Constitution without a referendum,” he said.

Abortion rights campaigners are set to mount a campaign to repeal the controversial Eighth Amendment to the Constitution in the autumn in order to widen the circumstances under which abortions can be carried out in Ireland.

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Rabbitte also said that the entire issue of abortion had been a “painful” one in Irish politics for the past 20 years sand said that it had been confronted by this government and 80 per cent of the Dáil had supported the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill.

Read: Campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment planned for the autumn

Read: Texas passes strict anti-abortion law despite protests

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Hugh O'Connell

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