Govt Takes Step Closer To 8th Amendment Referendum

The Cabinet has given formal approval for the draft General Scheme of the Bill that will form the basis for the 8th Amendment Referendum due to be held in May this year.

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, said: "I now plan to finalise the Referendum Bill, so that the 36th Amendment to the Constitution Bill may be published in early March. The exact date of the Referendum will be set following a debate and vote in the Dáil and Seanad, but I am confident that our timeline can be met.

"For the first time since 1983 the Irish people are to have their say on the substantive issue of the 8th Amendment and whether it should be removed from our Constitution. This follows recommendations from the Citizens Assembly and the cross-party Oireachtas committee, as well as a Government decision that a referendum be held.

"That referendum will propose that Article 40.3.3 is deleted in its entirety and a clause inserted that makes it clear that the Oireachtas may legislate to regulate termination of pregnancy.

"It is important to remember that the Referendum must be passed, and the 8th Amendment repealed, if anything is to change for Irish women. We need to change the status quo, for this to happen we must repeal the 8th. It is important that we are clear that if the people of Ireland do not repeal article 40.3.3 we cannot legislate for fatal foetal abnormality, rape, incest or women’s health.

"My Department is currently drafting legislation which would follow a repeal of the amendment. This legislation will be based on the recommendations made by the Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment. I intend to publish a policy paper at the beginning of March which will outline what that legislation will include.

"We have some very important – and busy – weeks ahead. I believe that as people reflect on the current situation in Ireland, where women are forced abroad to have a termination, where women are purchasing abortion pills illegally online and where women in extremely difficult situations are left isolated and neglected, that the Irish people will vote to repeal the 8th amendment."


Related Irish News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

21 March 2024
Call For Education On Violence Against Women And Girls
The Education Minister, Paul Givan, has been challenged by the SDLP on the proposed introduction of mandatory education around violence against women and girls in schools.
05 October 2017
SIPTU Backs Referendum To Repeal 8th Amendment
Trade union SIPTU has announced it is backing the campaign for a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment. Members of the organisation voted overwhelmingly in support of the motion at its Biennial Delegate Conference in Cork today, 05 October.
14 June 2013
Seanad Abolition Bill Published
Details of the governments proposal to abolish the Seanad have been published. 40 amendments, which will remove all references to the upper house, to the Constitution are included in the new the 32nd Amendment of the Constitution (Abolition of Seanad Éireann) Bill.
02 February 2018
O'Reilly Calls For Politicians To Be Fully Informed On 8th Amendment Debate
Sinn Féin's Health Spokesperson, Deputy Louise O'Reilly, has said it is "not good enough to have a superficial knowledge" on the 8th Amendment debate. Teachta O'Reilly called on politicians to be fully informed of the facts in the lead up to the upcoming 8th Amendment Referendum.
07 February 2008
Ombudsman's Concern At Limited Children's Referendum
The Ombudsman for Children has said she is opposed to holding a limited referendum dealing only with child protection, which may run on the same day as the Lisbon Treaty referendum. Emily Logan said she did not support the calls to hold two separate referendums on children's rights and child protection.