‘There’s No Appetite For A Further Referendum’


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Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, pictured arriving at Leinster House in July

Foreign affairs minister Charlie Flanagan spoke to Seán O’Rourke this morning and, at one point, they discussed the abortion story. Specifically, they talked about how the HSE are currently carrying out a review of the care given to the young woman.

Seán O’Rourke: “What about the possibility that what emerges from the report may suggest to you and colleagues that the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act be revisited in some way?”

Charlie Flanagan: “Well there is a suggestion that the act isn’t working. However, I think before we can be conclusive on that, or before we can form an opinion on that, we need to be appraised fully of the facts and the circumstances. There is, built into the legislation, and you know, we’re not going to revisit the lengthy hearings, the submissions and the engagement that ultimately formed the act about this time last year. I think it’s important that the review mechanism, under the act, be allowed take place. If the current case means bringing that forward a few months, then so bet it. There doesn’t appear to be an appetite for a further referendum. However, it’s important that Government does address the issue in the context of the facts of this, of this particularly harrowing case so early into the operation of the legislation.”

O’Rourke: “What would you say to the suggestion, and it’s put forward increasingly by your partners, in Government, in the Labour Party, that 31 years on from the original amendment, the article 40.3.3 that was inserted into the constitution, that that should now, in the round, be examined with a view perhaps to putting the issue before the people again.”

Flanagan: “Yeah, well, I think it’s important that we look at, we’d say the Fine Gael position, my party position. And before the last election we made three essential and important points. Firstly, we said that we wouldn’t legislate for abortion in Ireland and we didn’t. Secondly, we said… ”

O’Rourke: “That’s disputed, but we’ll let that go.”

Flanagan: “We had to address, it was incumbent upon us to address the issue of the European Court of Human Rights’ judgement in the A, B, C case and that was addressed, in the form of legislation. And, thirdly, we promised that we women in pregnancy would receive an appropriate level of medical treatment that was necessary. That is inbuilt in the legislation and it’s important in the context of this case that you now mentioned, that there is adequate follow through on that and that we satisfy ourselves that there was an appropriate level of medical treatment and attention available to that person.”

Previously: At The Mercy Of The State

Listen back here


76 thoughts on “‘There’s No Appetite For A Further Referendum’

  1. Am I still on This Island

    Sample straw poll, who would like to see a referendum with the following wording

    1 Should the 8th amendment be removed from
    The Irish constitution yes/no

    2 Should the Goverment legislate for abortion were medically recommended, in circumstances of Foetus abnormality, Risk to the life of the mother, rape or any circumstances were a medical professional feels it is required Yes or No

  2. Spartacus

    Charlie Flanagan? The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan? The one claiming a close working relationship with the Israeli ambassador? The one who (in the same interview) made clear that he doesn’t know where the Israeli Knesset sits, citing Tel Aviv as the destination of his “clear message” on Gaza?

    *That* Charlie Flanagan?

  3. Nigel

    There isn’t an appetite to see the coalition tying itself in knots again trying to appear to be providing abortion services that can be accessed through the eye of a needle and then busily burying that needle in a haystack.

  4. Llareggub

    God that last paragraph is utter gobbledegook. Slip in the words ‘incumbent upon us’ and we’ll be grand Charlie.

    ‘There doesn’t appear to be an appetite for a further referendum.’ See you at six o’clock at The Spire Charlie.

    1. Odis

      They are going to do nothing because that’s the easiest political option.
      The reality is that if you want an abortion, you can get one in the UK. It’s been that way for almost fifty years.

      Every now and again, there will be some embarrassment for them. Miss X, Savita, the lady with “poor” immigration status. etc.

      They”ll end up paying one of their m8’s to write a report, and doing **** all.

      No appetite (this close to an election)

      1. fluffybiscuits

        FG wont push the boat out, the spin docs are out in force, they might think it will alienate all their conservative voter base who form the vast majority of their voters. Catholic nuts who would rather give equal parity to a non viable clump of cells than a fully formed woman. Its worrying. Labour wont rock the boat either, they want to remain in govt as long as possible as its slaughter time for them come next election.

  5. les rock

    Enough of the rubbish. Sick of these little amendments when something tragic happens. Just give the vote to the people. Do you want Abortion in ireland yes or bloody no. Thats what we want you absolute bunch of cowatds

  6. Don Pidgeoni

    I think he means “political appetite”. They are on holidays after all and none of them (bar Clare and Mick etc) want to put their necks out to do what is only right.

  7. Am I still on This Island

    Rotide, you think the surveys and polls in recent years in relation to this are wrong? The Irish people have never been asked out straight about abortion and since the 90’s all four votes have been in favour of more liberal laws, twice refusing to remove suicide & 2 votes on freedom of travel and information.

    As it stands our laws effect the most weak and vulnerable in society the most in relation to this issue

    1. rotide

      The referendum in the eighties was pretty clear on it. Whilst it wasn’t a referendum to legalise abortion, it was one to prevent it becoming legal.

      Different times though. Who knows what would happen now.

      The point is, your ‘poll’ here is ridiculous. Everyone bar ABM is going to say Yes and Yes to it. You know that. I know that. Everyone typing Yes and Yes knows that.

      1. Llareggub

        Comments on here as far as I’m aware are open to people of all persuasions. Why do you think so many people are saying yes?

        1. rotide

          That’s right. Broadsheet.ie is a well known haven for left AND right wing discourse.

          Please, you get more balance on Fox news.

        2. Don Pidgeoni

          Rotide does have a point re the representativeness of a poll on this particular site. There’s ABM and that’s probably it for the noes.

          Although Im confused as to why rotide gives more credence to a poll from the 80s than more recent and more specific ones.

  8. Clampers Outside!

    Bullsh*t plain and simple…. the slack jawed yokels for politicians have no stomach or “appetite” for another referendum, particularly one with a proper abortion law change on the cards…. not some half arsed bull like the last one.

    The people, I believe, have a very hefty appetite for a PROPER referendum.

    I hope people don’t listen to this fool of a gombeen. Joany said the very same thing a couple of weeks back. It is the politicians, with no desire to listen to the public that don’t have the appetite. The very cretins that came up with the last joke of a referendum.

  9. Buzz

    That seems to be the stock reply these days. ‘We’ll get someone to establish the facts and draw up a report’. Blah blah. Delay and divert attention in other words, while making it look like they’re doing something. Sickening.

    1. Enda Kenny

      He’s not out of touch,
      He’s old school, from a time with a denser electorate. Time was when Haughey said there was no appetite for something, a world without social media said to itself ‘must be just me, so’.

      He’s past it, like too many others, wasting their entire lives on backbenches voting how they’re told, working their fingers to the bone to get into power, only to get it and not want to change anything about our society in any meaningful way. Political vermin like FG and FF need abolishing.

        1. Spartacus

          A few. We were just beginning to warm to the new-and-improved Enda Kenny, and you’ve gone and shattered the illusion.

  10. PhilJo

    I may not have a huge appetite for a referendum, the radio will be wall to wall briefcase w@nker and the Ionanists, the debate will be decisive, I will hear things that will make me want to scream with frustration, but assuming I maintain the will to live through this I do have a huge appetite for a change in the constitution because 4.3.3 is a hideous basis for law foisted upon us by a discredited, morally vacant church and maintained by the shrill cries of a few odious individuals. #repealthe8th

    1. scottser

      4.3.3 is indeed a hideous basis for law, but ironically could be ireland’s most promising team set-up for the euro qualifiers.

      anyway, yes and yes. i won’t be going to the protest cos i’m babysitting.

  11. Am I still on This Island

    In a few days, Will be back early next year all going to plan. Spartacus, off to protect people from violent religious extremists, sadly nothing world saving about it

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