Dail debate on abortion bill to continue this afternoon

A marathon session in the Dáil concluded at 5am this morning, with no decision reached on the bill to allow abortion in limited circumstances. The Daily Shift’s Roisin Peddle reports… 

Debates concluded at 5am this morning

Debates concluded at 5am this morning

The Dáil debate on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill was adjourned this morning at 5am, and will resume this afternoon.

The marathon debate saw tempers flare, and despite plans to have the debate concluded by 10pm, only two amendments voted on.

At 10pm, TDs voted to conclude the discussion and resume it again this afternoon. Despite speculation of  some Fine Gael TDs voting against the parliamentary party and losing the whip, there was no such rebellion. However, it is expected that Junior Minister Lucinda Creighton will vote against the legislation today, thereby losing her ministry and being automatically expelled from the parliamentary party.

Ms Creighton said she cannot support laws “built on sand”.

However other TDs who had previously spoken of their reservations about the bill, including Michelle Mulherin and John Paul Phelan, are expected to vote for it. Ms Mulherin said she would not be “booted out” out of the party and so would be supporting the bill.

Six pro-choice TDs, including Clare Daly and Richard Boyd Barrett, are expected to vote against the bill, believing it does not go far enough.

Speaking last night, health minister James Reilly said the bill will prevent another tragedy like the events surrounding the death of Savita Halappanavar, who died in Galway last October following sepsis due to a miscarriage.

He also said that clarity was needed.

“When the statute book is silent on matters of life and death, great mischief can occur,” he said.

Sinn Féin’s Caoimhighin O’Caoláin said it was time for legislators to take their “heads out of the sand”.

Cork Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer, who chaired the Oireachtas hearings on the issue, said: “We must trust our women of Ireland; we must trust our mothers. Let’s have a leap of faith on behalf of our women.”

As protesters from both sides held vocal vigils outside Leinster House, tempers became increasingly frayed. Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin called the dawn debate “farcical”.

Despite the seriousness of the topic, there were several bizarre moments during the debate. Labour TD Michael McNamara accidentally selected the wrong button and voted against the Government, an action which party leadership say will have no consequences.

More controversially, a Fine Gael TD, believed to be Cork East deputy Tom Barry, is seen to grab a female colleague and place her on his lap. The female TD is believed to be Cork North-West representative Áine Collins. A Fine Gael spokesperson described the incident as “a piece of horseplay between two people who happen to be friends”.  A video of the incident can be viewed on Tumblr blogger Mergito’s page. 

*Lead image via Wikimedia Commons

A marathon session in the Dáil concluded at 5am this morning, with no decision reached on the bill to allow abortion in limited circumstances. The Daily Shift’s Roisin Peddle reports… 

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