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Citizen’s assembly on the 8th Amendment only delay and deflection – O’ Reilly

15 June, 2016 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on health, Louise O’ Reilly TD, has condemned Enda Kenny’s refusal to commit to a referendum on the 8th Amendment. Deputy O’ Reilly has criticised the government proposed ‘citizen’s assembly’ which will look at the repeal of the 8th Amendment as an attempt to delay dealing with issue itself.

Deputy O’ Reilly said:

“Enda Kenny seems to find solace in the fact that the UN Human Rights Committee report - which found that a woman carrying a foetus with a fatal abnormality was subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment - is ‘non-binding’.

“This means that he and the government are not bound to actually legislate to allow for termination if a woman finds herself in this very difficult and distressing situation. Instead he has proposed a watery ‘citizens assembly’. We have no idea who’ll be on this assembly or how it will operate - there is no sense of urgency.  

“This ‘citizen’s assembly’ is very similar to the much feted ‘Constitutional Convention’ which was also ‘non-binding’ and which saw most of its proposals for referendums ignored and abandoned.

“An Taoiseach was very clear yesterday about the need for every citizen from around the country, based on geography, gender and age to have their say on this issue, but what he fails to realise is that the best way for citizens to have their say is in a referendum.

“Kenny proclaims that he has ‘listened to the women of Ireland’. It is a case of selective hearing. Polls have shown that Irish citizens are significantly in favour of repealing the 8th. Not only that, but the ‘inhumanity’ of our laws have received international criticism. What more does he need to hear?

“Kenny claims that ‘consensus’ is needed, we need to ‘talk’. What use is delaying the conversation until the end of the year? What greater consensus exists than that of a referendum which would allow every citizen to have their say? A referendum to repeal the 8th must be called, and it must be called now.”

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