Thursday 14 December 2017

Fianna Fail at odds over removing anti-abortion laws

FF spokesman Robert Troy (Tom Burke)
FF spokesman Robert Troy (Tom Burke)

Fianna Fail is split on removing anti-abortion laws.

Speaking at the announcement of FF's Childcare Plan, the party's spokesman for Children Robert Troy said the issue was "not a priority for the party".

The party did not have a reference to the topic when it published its manifesto on Thursday.

However, Mr Troy said if it comes up the party will allow TDs to "vote with their conscience".

Mr Troy said he was "pro-life" and believed he should "have the right to be".

Mr Troy voted against relaxing anti-abortion laws for women with mental health reasons previously.

He said he voted before based on personal experiences.

"A [pregnant] person close to me was suicidal. I didn't believe a termination was the manner to deal with it.

"It's a state of mind, it's transient. It can change over time. A termination can't."

Mr Troy added he knew women who had to go England to have an abortion, where it is legal to do so.

However, he insisted that it was a "personal matter" and would not "comment further".

He was joined by candidate Lorraine Clifford Lee, who wants to remove the constitutional abortion ban, the eighth amendment.

Ms Clifford Lee said she understood Mr Troy's position but said "maybe my male colleagues don't get the issue on the doorsteps as much as I do, because women talk to women.

"If elected, I hope to bring up the issue," she said.

"I've previously brought it up with the party's leader."


The Dublin Fingal candidate said that the party had "a variety of views."

She added that party leader Micheal Martin had dealt with the issue.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fail plans to introduce a tax credit system for parents which will cover 20pc-40pc childcare expenses up to €5,000.

The party also promised to extend maternity leave from 26 to 30 weeks and make it transferable between both parents.

There are also plans to create a €5m "Learner Fund" to invest in early childhood education.

When asked about Labour wooing parents about with €2-an-hour childcare plan, Mr Troy told voters to "beware" of Labour's proposals as it had cut child benefit and taxed maternity leave.

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