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Repeal the Eighth Bill blocked in the Dáil after government deal

Fine Gael, the Independent Alliance and independents in government took a unified approach to the issue.

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THE AAA-PBP BILL that could have paved the way for a referendum on the Eighth Amendment has been blocked in the Dáil.

The legislation, championed by Bríd Smith and Ruth Coppinger, would allow for a popular vote on whether Ireland’s constitutional ban on abortion should be removed.

However, the government (Fine Gael, the Independent Alliance and other independents) made a deal earlier this week to ensure the bill would not be accepted.

It tabled a counter-motion today to make a ‘reasoned amendment’ to the bill. The government argued that it wants the Citizens’ Assembly to complete its work on the issue over the next six months before associated legislation is brought to the chamber.

Today’s counter-motion passed with 96 votes to 47, defeating the original bill.

Fianna Fáil was given a free vote on the issue with just five of its deputies voting against the government. Sinn Féin, the Green Party, Independents 4 Change, Labour and the Social Democrats supported the AAA-PBP bill.

Two TDs abstained.

The Eighth Amendment

The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution grants the equal right to life to the mother and the unborn child.

The AAA-PBP bill had been contentious, with members of the Independent Alliance in government initially wanting a free vote on the matter.

Fine Gael, however, has been keen to avoid a similar situation as had occurred with Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace’s bill earlier in the Dáil term.

In that instance, the Wexford TD had put forward a bill which would have allowed for abortions in situations where a child would not live outside the womb.

The bill failed to pass, but it was backed by Minister for Transport Shane Ross and junior ministers John Halligan and Finian McGrath, who voted against government advice.

With reporting by Cormac Fitzgerald

More: 14 TDs in Dáil chamber as Bríd Smith produces packet of abortion pills

Read: Coppinger blasts ‘sell-out independents’ after Government adopts unified stance on abortion bill

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