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A welcome forum on abortion

EXPECT a great deal of heat but very little light at the Oireachtas Health Committee's abortion hearings over the coming days. Over the course of three days medical, legal and religious representatives will give their views on forthcoming legislation for the restricted introduction of abortion here.

It is right that the parties concerned have their say in what will be a televised forum. While little breakthrough can be expected on this most divisive of issues, it is good that the groups are offered a formal forum to present their views.

The hearings are welcome then, but will not have any legislative bearing.

Indeed the committee will not make even recommendations on the issue in its report on the matter.

Instead the decision on what the legislation will look like will be made by Health Minister James Reilly, assisted by his advisers.

Once hearings are complete this week, prompt legislation is required.