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Couple tweeting abortion journey need more than Minister’s empty platitudes – Louise O’Reilly TD

10 November, 2016 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Health Louise O’Reilly TD has said that the Minister for Health needs to do more than express his sadness at the news of a couple live tweeting their abortion story as they travel to England. She said that the growing tide of support for repealing the 8th amendment has not gone away, that waiting until June to consider this is inadequate, and that Government need to take immediate action its obligations as outlined by the UN. 

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“It is very clear that action on the eighth amendment cannot wait any longer. There is a ground swell of support for its repeal and the actions of the public- from public murals, clothing lines and poll results- indicate that they want a say on this issue. Indeed, the fact that this couple, like two women only months ago, turned to twitter to publicly chronicle their abortion story- that made by thousands of women and couples every year- shows the level of discontent for the current situation. It is unacceptable for a couple to entrench the sorrow and hurt of the circumstances they find themselves in to have to travel abroad.

“While Minister Harris came out today to say that he was saddened that Irish people found themselves in this situation and that he would like to see change, his commitment to waiting on the citizens assembly was disappointing. Platitudes of sadness and remorse are not what the women of Ireland need- repeal of the 8th amendment is.

“It is very clear that the Government’s only intention this term of addressing this issue is the citizen’s assembly. An Taoiseach was very clear last session about the need for every citizen from around the country, based on geography, gender and age to have their say on the 8th amendment, but what he fails to realise is that the best way for citizens to have their say is in a referendum. 

“A citizens’ assembly can have value as one part of a national conversation on the eighth amendment, but it of itself as the only Government response is not sufficient. It will not address Ireland’s obligations as outlined by the UN. 

“This issue will not go away.we have seen this since this new Dáil started. The public will not let this issue lie. The use of social media to chronicle the real and harrowing stories of Irish couples and women will only increase. More women will continue to make the journey to England and more pressure will be brought to bear on the Government. It is time for the Government to take action.”

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