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UN Committee on the Rights of the Child member José Angel Rodríguez Reyes, of Venezuela, and Children’s Minister Dr James Reilly in Geneva this afternoon

Children’s Minister Dr James Reilly and officials from the Irish government are continuing to answer questions from members of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva, Switzerland.

The issue of abortion was raised again.

José Angel Rodríguez Reyes: “I would like briefly to ask whether you intend to consult the Irish people to hear their opinion with regard to article 43.3.3 on abortion? And at the same time, how do you reconcile the legal prohibition on abortion with the need for adolescents to be provided with appropriate medical services of any type, if they’re faced with any type of situation that requires medical attention? Thank you.”

Irish government official: “… First, in relation to the need for appropriate services, the services reflect the existing legal position in relation to abortion in Ireland and that is the extent to which the State services will address the issue…yes, minister [nods in direction of Dr James Reilly]. And secondly in relation to consulting the people, the minister will be pleased to answer that.”

Dr James Reilly: “Thank you very much. Just in relation to the first part of the question. As the minister who brought in the Protection of Life In Pregnancy Bill at the time, it was very clearly, the advises that we had that if we were to go any further than we did, we would require a referendum. In relation to that issue the Taoiseach, the prime minister of the country, has made it very clear that this issue needs to be addressed through a citizens’ convention because by simply repealing the 8th amendment, you leave a vacuum and therefore, if there was to be a repeal of the 8th amendment, there would be a need for something to replace it.

And clearly we would need to have a citizens’ convention to discuss if a) that would happen and b) what wording would replace the existing wording. I just want, for the benefit of the committee, to make it clear that the X case, from the 1990s, made it very clear that abortion was legal in certain circumstances in Ireland and that the purpose of the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill was to clarify for women what was available to them under the law and clarify for the medical profession what was permissible under the law. I hope that clarifies the situation. None the less, it’s a matter for the next government and I make no presumption what the next government a) be constituted of or b) what it might do.”

Watch live here

Earlier: ‘Divestment Of School Patronage Is Slow’

11 thoughts on “Interminable

  1. Dόn Pídgéόní

    He’s blowing smoke up that’s guy’s a**, why would you need anything to replace it?

    1. Lorcan Nagle

      Now Don, you ought to know by now that we can’t be giving women rights and letting them think for themselves like. It’d be an utter state of chassis.

    2. MajorThrill

      He probably thinks he’s being terribly clever with throwing that little red herring at a UN committee member who’s job it is to know what the deal is in a given country and has a team of people providing them with information gathered from a broad range of sources.

      And who, more importantly can’t just call him a spoofer to his face.

  2. ahjayzis

    “by simply repealing the 8th amendment, you leave a vacuum and therefore, if there was to be a repeal of the 8th amendment, there would be a need for something to replace it.”

    Is this not bullcrap, though? The constitution isn’t legislation – the legislation outlawing abortion would still be extant, it would just mean the parliament (roughly translated = citizens convention!) can legislate as it sees fit, or do nothing and keep us under the 19th century law as in NI.

  3. Bonkers

    I’m really getting sick of this ‘what would replace it’ argument. Take the dam thing out and then pass legislation in the Dail, is it that hard? The whole ‘replace’ idea is nothing more than a FG ruse, I have no doubt that we’ll be offered some sort of constitutional replacement that will be unsavoury to both sides of the debate and hence the referendum will be lost because no-one will be able to agree what gets slotted in instead of it.

    It reminds me of the time in 1999 when a majority of Australians were demanding to remove the Queen as the head of State. The monarchists in power knew the tide was against them so they pulled a stroke by offering the people a referendum whereby if the voted out the Queen the new head of state would be voted in by the politicians only. The Aussie public wanted rid of the Queen but they also wanted the power to vote for their own head of state directly. So the referendum failed, not because a majority wanted to hang on to Lizzie but because they weren’t going to get a directly elected president. It was a total con. FG are trying to pull the exact same trick with the referendum on the 8th and it is as plain as day.

  4. DubLoony

    There is no legislative reason to have a convention.
    The Dáil is the convention and if TDs’ wanted this done, it would be done.

    The “What would replace it” argument scares the bejaus out of me. If we remove the 8th and ad in something with conditions back into the constitution, we’ll no doubt have another legal quagmire.
    Women’s biology should not be a constitutional matter. Remove the 8th full stop.

    As a country we need to grow the F*** up and have proper sex education, contraception, mature attitude of men and women to sexual health & relationships, affordable childcare and yeah, safe, legal abortion for those who, having discussed it with the medical practitioners, need it.

    Everyone else should p*** off and mind their own bloody business.

  5. Jay

    I may be incredibly wrong but surely the protection of life during pregnancy bill will still be the law of the land.

    So isn’t there already legislation in place?

    1. scottser

      i would imagine that if the 8th is repealed then the current legislation is open to challenge and unenforceable.

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