Clear rationale needed from Government on departure from 8th Committee recommendations

29 January 2018

Labour Party Leader, Brendan Howlin TD, has welcomed the Government decision to proceed with a referendum on the 8th amendment but has said that Government needs to provide clear rationale for the departure from the recommendation of the Oireachtas Committee.

Deputy Howlin said:

“This is a significant day.

“Having voted against, and campaigned against the 8th amendment in 1983, I welcome the Government decision today.

“Given the findings of the Citizen’s Assembly and the Oireachtas Committee, the Government had no option but to proceed on this basis.

“Those of us who support this change must argue for it strongly but respectfully of those who hold different views to our own.

“I believe the public are ready to endorse change.

“This has been a transparent process honestly entered into by members of the public and the Oireachtas, and warrants serious consideration by the Irish people before they vote.

“I believe that the better the debate on the issue, the greater the likelihood of the proposal being passed and I can confirm that the Labour Party will campaign on this basis.

“As I never believed that this issue should be dealt with in the constitution, I have concerns about the Government’s decision to depart from the Oireachtas Committee’s proposal for repeal simplicitor.

“The Government now intends to proceed with a proposal rejected by the Oireachtas Committee and must publish and explain its advice for doing so. 

“We know that every additional phrase in the constitution is subject to further analysis and perusal, and the risk that that entails seems unnecessary given the stated powers afforded to the Oireachtas in the constitution already.

“As was reported to be the views of the Attorney General at the weekend, neither approach will prevent legal challenges to the legislation, so my preference is to remain true to the Committee’s proposal”

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