Citizens' Assembly on Ireland's abortion laws to be set up from next week

The Taoiseach has told the Dáil that such a sensitive issue should not be rushed

taoiseach, dail, citizens, assembly, ireland, abortion, laws, 8th amendment

Enda Kenny. Image: Niall Carson / PA

The Citizens' Assembly to look at Ireland's abortion laws will be set up from next week.

The Taoiseach is bringing a memo to Cabinet next Tuesday to establish the assembly, which will look first at the issue of repealing the 8th Amendment to the Constitution.

However, even after the assembly reports, it will be referred to an Oireachtas Committee for discussion before any decision on a referendum.

Enda Kenny has told the Dáil that such a sensitive issue should not be rushed.

"There needs to be a real discussion here, and people would want to know if you're going to take that out of the Constitution, what are you going to replace it with?" he said.

The issue of abortion was raised in the Dáil today by Ruth Coppinger of the Anti-Austerity Alliance.

Deputy Coppinger says Ireland is behind the curve on the issue, observing "every other EU state deals with this... most of the states around the world deal with it".

Last week a UN committee told the Government that laws regarding abortion need to change.

After reviewing the case of a woman who had to travel to the UK for a termination, independent experts attached to the UN Human Rights Committee ruled that she had been treated inhumanely by Ireland's current laws.

The judgment found that Amanda Mellet suffered "severe emotional and mental pain" after being denied an abortion here.

The experts said it was a direct result of Ireland's legal prohibition on abortion and called for changes to prevent this happening again.

The decision has led to campaigners calling for urgent reform to Ireland's abortion laws.

In a statement, Mrs Mellet said: "Subjecting women to so much additional pain and trauma simply must not continue."

The State was given 180 days to reply to the ruling.