‘It’s A Sensitive Issue That Must Be Teased Out Very Carefully’

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaking about the 8th amendment in the Dáil last week

You may recall Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s comments about the 8th amendment last week.

And the subsequent appeal for him to correct the Dáil record.

Earlier today, during Order of Business, the opportunity for him to correct the record arose when Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy raised the matter.

Catherine Murphy: “Will the Taoiseach confirm that the Cabinet discussed the preparation of legislation for the IBRC Cregan inquiry? Is there a timeline for that and the changing of the terms of reference for the inquiry?”

“The €12 million diverted from mental health appears now to have been, more or less, put back into the mental health area. It was diverted, we were told, because there was insufficient time to recruit the staff. Is it envisaged that the money will be diverted for the recruitment of staff and is there some sort of a changed mechanism for doing that?”

The other day in a debate, the Taoiseach made some erroneous points relating to the eighth amendment to the Constitution, particularly that there had been several referenda about the eighth amendment. Will he take the opportunity to correct the record on that particular issue? We have not had a referendum on it for 30 years and there are different elements.”

Enda Kenny: “Following the meeting I had with the Deputy and other parties last week, I can confirm that this morning the Government approved the drafting of a Bill in respect of the general scheme of the commissions of investigation dealing with IBRC.”

“That was the approval of the urgent drafting of legislation to enhance the powers of the commission of investigation into IBRC along the lines of a general scheme that we discussed, together with all the consequent challenges that lie therein. Second, the Government noted the approach proposed regarding the revision of the terms of reference for the commission of investigation into the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation following consultations by me and Ministers with members of the Opposition parties.”

“We discussed the drafting of legislation to allow for this in modular form, to have terms of reference to allow an investigation into the Siteserv issue, which is a matter of public concern raised here on many occasions, and the allowing of future modules to be inserted into that, if necessary. Approval was given for that this morning.”

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl:There are two other matters.”

Kenny: “The Minister for Health met representatives of the Psychiatric Nurses Association of Ireland last Friday. The money has been restored in full for what was originally intended for mental health and the Minister of State, Deputy McEntee, will outline the details of how it is to be spent. With regard to recruitment, there will be a focus on attracting psychiatric nurses back to Ireland and more places for psychiatric nursing training.”

I answered a question to Deputy Bríd Smith last week on the eighth amendment. This was put into the Constitution in 1983 and in February 1992 there was a Supreme Court judgment in the X case.”

“In 1992, there was also a referendum to reverse the X case judgment and that referendum was defeated, and there was also a referendum on the right to travel, which was passed.”

“In the same year there was a referendum on the right to information, which was also passed. In 2002, there was a referendum to reverse the X case judgment and that was narrowly defeated. I am just getting the chronological sequence right.”

Although I know it is not the Deputy’s intention to have this treated in any way as a political football, it is a sensitive and profound issue that must be teased out very carefully with regard to action that might be taken by the people.”

There would be a citizens’ assembly and the Dáil process to establish it if there is a consensus for change. That is very necessary and what I intend to do.”

Ruth Coppinger: “Is that the Taoiseach correcting the record?”

Michael Healy-Rae: “Taoiseach – turf.”

Micheál Martin: “Turf, is it?”

Healy-Rae: “Is it fair to say that the last Government made a grave error in banning farmers from cutting turf in certain bogs? I am referring to the priority legislation, the wildlife (amendment) Bill. Is it factual to say the last Government made a grave error in stopping farmers from cutting turf on certain bogs?”…

Previously: ReferEnda

‘The People Decided To Keep That Reference In The Constitution’

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

11 thoughts on “‘It’s A Sensitive Issue That Must Be Teased Out Very Carefully’

  1. essosee

    If ever there was a transcript that summed up the current state of Irish politics….

  2. Cot

    It’s not sensitive. It needs to be sorted out now. We need free, legal and safe abortion on demand immediately.

  3. Rob_G

    The above exchange kind of serves to illustrate why Enda Kenny has to take the softly-softly approach as regards to the 8th. While many people in Ireland are in favour of loosening Ireland’s archaic restrictions on abortion laws somewhat (at least in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities), a large proportion of the electorate is made up of the type of people who elect the Healy-Raes – who purports to believe that there isn’t any climate change because God made the weather, and won’t countenance any easing of the abortion laws.

    Michael Martin, who would probably go along with repealing the 8th for foetal abnormalities, etc, but would need to know that there was a groundswell of support for such a move (several front-bench FF TDs went against the party line on the marriage equality referendum; any move on abortion would be even more divisive.).

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