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Taoiseach's legacy is one of failing women and girls - O'Reilly

13 June, 2017 - by Louise O'Reilly TD


Speaking this afternoon Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has said that while she wished Enda Kenny well in his departure as Taoiseach, a huge part of his legacy will be his failing of women and girls in respect of his refusal to hold a referendum on repealing the eight amendment.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“In the rush to congratulate Enda Kenny on his tenure as Taoiseach his Fine Gael colleagues and his supporters in the media will point to what they deem his legacy.

“Contextualising Enda Kenny’s legacy will be no easy feat given the housing and homelessness crisis, the crisis in the health service, wide-spread emigration under his tenure, ageist public and civil service pay policies, ageist social welfare payments, amongst a myriad of other issues.

"However, a large part of Kenney’s legacy of failure will be his refusal to simply hold a referendum on repealing the eight amendment and let the Irish people have their say.

“I hope when Enda Kenny’s legacy is being written adequate column inches and airspace will be given to the death of Savita Halappanavar, to Amanda Mellet’s United Nations Human Rights Committee case which ruled she had suffered ‘discrimination’ and ‘cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment’ due to Ireland’s ban on abortion, and to the recent shocking revelations where a vulnerable young pregnant girl who had requested termination was instead falsely sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

“I hope column inches and airspace is also given to the 22,261 women who have travelled to the UK since Enda Kenny became Taoiseach in 2011 in order to use their health service to avail of a termination. There are also those who travelled to other European countries for which we have significantly less information but who should not be equally spoken about.

“And again today, on the Taoiseach’s departure from office we have another strand to his legacy in the form of another UN ruling on Ireland’s abortion laws. In response to Siobhán Whelan’s case the UN has for second time in the past 12 months denounced Ireland abortion laws and ruled that the states abortion laws have subjected a woman to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

“There is a draconian edge to the Irish state when it comes to dealing with women and women’s reproductive rights, and Enda Kenny and Fine Gael have done nothing to address that."

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