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What now?

The abortion debate - what happens next?

The Dáil sat until 5am debating proposed amendments to the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill and will begin again at 4pm.

AFTER A MARATHON session that stretched into the early hours of this morning, ending bizarrely as Labour TD Michael McNamara accidentally voted against the Government, the Dáil debate on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 will restart this evening.

Just 11 of the 165 proposed amendments to the bill had been voted on before deputies adjourned at 5am.

The bill was discussed throughout the day, before a vote at 10pm which agreed to wrap things up at 5am.  That vote was called ‘farcical’ by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, but passed.

So, where are we?

In truth, we don’t really know. The number of amendments and level of debate make it impossible to know just when the actual vote on the passage of the bill will be taken, with another long night already being planned for. It is increasingly likely that the final vote on the bill will not be taken until Friday.

What we do know is that the Taoiseach is due to take leaders questions at 12.30pm, before the debate on the bill is picked up at around 4pm.

Junior Minister Lucinda Creighton has yet to vote against the Government on the proposed amendments, but is expected to do so later today, when her amendment, which seeks the removal of suicidal ideation as grounds for abortion, comes before the Dáil. In doing so, Creighton will immediately lose the party whip and her ministry.

Three other Fine Gael TDs; Michelle Mulherin, John O’Mahony and John-Paul Phelan all indicated that they will support the Government.

All pictures Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Explainer: What exactly are Ireland’s politicians voting on?

Read: Debate on abortion bill adjourned at 5am

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