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Peadar Tóibín expects 'robust consequences' when he votes against abortion bill

The Sinn Féin TD has reiterated that he will vote against the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill when it goes through the Dáil later this week.

Peadar Tóibín (right)
Peadar Tóibín (right)
Image: Wanderley Massafelli/Photocall Ireland

SINN FÉIN TD Peadar Tóibín expects that the consequences of him voting against his party’s position on the abortion legislation will be “robust” and has apologised to party members in advance.

Tóibín reiterated today that he expects to vote against the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill when a vote is called later this week in the Dáil and he is now likely to face disciplinary procedures from Sinn Féin although it’s not clear if he will be expelled from the parliamentary party.

A Sinn Féin spokesperson said only that Tóibín will face “disciplinary proceedings” if he votes against the legislation.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie earlier today, Tóibín said: “I imagine that the consequences will be robust. I fully expect to be voting against this. I have broken the agreement and the rules of the party and I fully accept that.”

He said he wanted to “apologise” to the “members, comrades and colleagues” but said that his “first objective is that the mother’s life is safe on every single occasion”.

The Meath West TD criticised the legislation, insisting it is not based on medical evidence. He has previously called for a free vote among the Sinn Féin parliamentary party and described the Supreme Court X case as “historic and archaic”.

No medical basis

He said today: “It [the legislation] needs to be based on medical evidence, all of the evidence in all the hearings says that abortion isn’t a treatment for suicidal ideation yet we are going down a route to legislate.

“It is really important that legislation which brings about actual treatment for patients has medical basis and this doesn’t.”

He said that he expected disciplinary action from the Sinn Féin party as soon as he votes against the legislation, which is likely to happen on Friday, and confirmed he had spoken to party president Gerry Adams and “most of the leadership of the party”.

“Any of those conversations were held in private,” he added, declining to discuss the nature of the talks.

A Sinn Féin spokesperson said today: “We expect everybody to vote with party position and if anyone doesn’t there will be disciplinary proceedings.

“But we wouldn’t be commenting on what they would be, it’s an internal party matter.”

Tóibín has already been disciplined by the party after he failed to turn up for a vote on a Private Members’ Bill that would have legislated for the X Case last year. That decision resulted in him losing the chairmanship of the Oireachtas Investigations Committee.

TD: We’re being asked to choose between Fine Gael values and Fine Gael

Read: Fine Gael TD says he won’t support abortion bill, and neither will nine others

Dáil debate: Reilly says he won’t be afraid to suspend abortion service as bill introduced in Dáil

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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