herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

FG's Kate - I'd like vote on Eighth 'tomorrow'

TD Kate O'Connell Picture: Tom Burke
TD Kate O'Connell Picture: Tom Burke

Dublin TD Kate O'Connell has said she'd like to see a referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment "tomorrow".

But she conceded that she can't argue with a citizen's convention discussing the matter first, saying politicians with more experience "obviously think it's a good idea".

Independent Children Minister Katherine Zappone - who is in favour of repealing the amendment that gives equal status to the life of a woman and her unborn child - has predicted that a vote won't happen until the end of 2017.

Fine Gael's Ms O'Connell believes Ms Zappone is being realistic.

"I wish it could happen tomorrow but that's not possible ... These things have to run their course. If a citizen's convention is what has been decided is the best course of action by the Taoiseach, well I have to accept that," she told the Herald.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he doesn't believe a referendum on the Eighth Amendment would pass if it was held as early as October this year.

He said that there first needs to be a debate around what would replace it and pledged to bring a memo to Cabinet next week to establish the citizen's convention.

Debating

Ms O'Connell said she's not opposed to the idea of the convention debating the issue.

"I think those that have more experience than I do obviously think it's a good idea," the first-time TD said.

"The worst thing we could do is to rush into something, because if it's rushed into and it's not done right it'll be a 'No' vote and we will continue exporting the problem," she added.

Ms O'Connell said she believes abortion should be a woman's choice, albeit with strict term limits.

She said it should be "free, safe and legal and, to quote Doctors for Choice: 'As early as possible and as late as necessary'."

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