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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Only five Renua candidates back changing abortion rule

Renua party leader Lucinda Creighton (front, centre) with candidates for the upcoming
election during the party's manifesto launch at Smock Alley, Dublin Photo: Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney
Renua party leader Lucinda Creighton (front, centre) with candidates for the upcoming election during the party's manifesto launch at Smock Alley, Dublin Photo: Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Just five candidates standing for Lucinda Creighton's Renua Ireland have publicly backed changes to the Constitution on abortion.

The new political party grew out of a revolt by key Fine Gael figures in July 2013 against changes to the law on abortion. But since the party was launched last March, Ms Creighton and her colleagues avoided taking an official stance on the matter, saying it was among a series of matters best left to personal conscience.

The party has now become the first political group to launch their manifesto - some eight weeks ahead of the expected polling day at the end of February. The party's 18 candidates gathered for a function in Dublin and outlined their plans, with Ms Creighton saying they would publish their "red-line issues" for any government negotiations before the election.

Declared

But just five of the 18 Renua candidates were prepared to say they backed the idea of changing the 1983 amendment to the Constitution which effectively curtails abortion except where the mother's life is at risk. The five who declared their support for some kind of change were: Michael Gargan of Dublin South Central; Frank Cronin of Dun Laoghaire; Milo Power of Waterford; Anne Farrell of Galway-Roscommon; and Patrick McKee of Carlow-Kilkenny.

Mr Cronin said he understood it was a very difficult issue and he respected all other people's views. "I favour change to face the reality of life as it is. But I think we should have an open debate on the matter," Mr Cronin told the Herald.

Ms Creighton also highlighted a simplification of the tax system with a new 23pc flat rate applying to all people earning less than €70,000 per year. The former EU affairs junior minister defended the move as promoting work and fairness while simplifying the tax system.

Renua deputy leader Billy Timmins urged a crackdown on crime with a life sentence being applied for repeat offenders of serious crime.

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