8th Amendment was not considered 'fully and properly' - Leo Varadkar

Later this month TDs will vote on a referendum bill on abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality

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File photo. Image: RollingNews.ie

TDs are to vote later this month on a referendum bill that would allow abortion in the case of fatal foetal abnormality.

The bill from Wexford TD Mick Wallace will be debated in two weeks.

It would allow abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, if it had been cleared by a perinatologist and an obstetrician.

The bill could attract wide support throughout the Dáil, but it is not known whether Fine Gael would give its TDs a free vote on the bill.

It comes as Minister Leo Varadkar says the 8th Amendment was not considered fully and properly before being added to the Constitution.

Leo Varadkar says considering the repeal of the amendment should not be rushed.

However he conceded that it cannot be put on the long finger either.

"Part of the reason why our abortion laws have given us so much trouble in this country is because we put an amendment into the Constitution in 1983 without considering it fully and properly," he suggested.

Earlier this week, the Children's Minister Katherine Zappone said the end of 2017 is a "realistic" date for a vote on abortion.

Her assessment followed comments from Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who said a United Nations report on abortion laws is not binding.

Last week, the United Nations Human Rights Committee called for our constitutional ban on abortion to be scrapped, as it subjects women to suffering and discrimination.

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