In the Dáil.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny was asked by Anti-Austerity Alliance – People Before Profit TDs Ruth Coppinger and Brid Smith about the Goverment’s plans to hold a citizen’s assembly on the 8th amendment.
Enda Kenny: “The fact of the matter is that in 1983, the 8th amendment was introduced into the Bunreacht na hEireann, the Irish constitution, by the Irish people. And that was guarantee to the right to life of the unborn. There were three referenda after that. And, in each case, in each of those referenda, by the people, not just by any parties, the people decided to keep that reference in the constitution.”
Ruth Coppinger: “Sorry, Ceann Comhairle, that’s completely. The people did not vote on the eighth amendment subsequently. They voted on side issues including information..”
Ceann Comhairle: “Will you let the Taoiseach answer, please.”
Further to this, the group Terminations For Medical Reasons (TFMR) has written an open letter to the Taoiseach, stating:
We in TFMR Ireland found it absolutely appalling that you deliberately mislead the Dail, the Oireachtas and the people of Ireland yesterday when in Dáil Éireann you made the following statement in relation to the 8th Amendment to the Constitution: –
“The fact of the matter is… there were three referenda after that and in each case, in each of those referenda by the people, not just by any parties, the people decided to keep that reference in the Constitution.”
This was a false statement and one which we believe was intended to deceive the Dáil, the Oireachtas, the people of Ireland and the watching world into believing that the Irish people have had three opportunities to determine whether or not to retain the 8th Amendment.
We would like to point out to you, Taoiseach, that the fact of the matter is that on no occasion since 1983 has any such choice been put to us.
…The people of Ireland have never had an opportunity to Repeal the 8th and could not therefore have, on three occasions “decided to keep that reference in the Constitution.”
You, Taoiseach, were a fervent advocate for the insertion of the 8th back in 1983 and have been complicit in the abuse of thousands of women in Ireland in the intervening period by continuing to deny them their Human Rights, as have been established by numerous International Human Rights bodies.
We are calling upon you to immediately correct the false statement you made in our Dail yesterday…