Taoiseach reacts to Citizens' Assembly vote

It's his first public comment since the Assembly concluded last weekend

The Taoiseach's spoken for the first time about the recommendation from the Citizens' Assembly to change the country's abortion laws.

Last weekend the group recommended replacing the 8th amendment and that the ban on abortion here should be relaxed - including allowing terminations in all cases up to 12 weeks gestation.

Enda Kenny says the Oireachtas Committee and the Dáil will now have to decide what's put to the people.

"Clearly, if there's any change to the Constitution, of course it requires a referendum," he said. "It's a matter for explaining to people what were the issues the assembly deliberated upon, what decisions did they make and what those decisions might actually mean."

Last weekend, the Citizens' Assembly outlined its recommendations to the Oireachtas, notably that unrestricted legal abortion be introduced to Ireland.

Members examined eight scenarios in which the Oireachtas might legislate for abortion, and also the time limits for such abortions.

The report from the Citizens' Assembly will also be recommending that abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality be allowed, following a majority vote of 89%.

99% of assembly has voted to continue to allow abortion when there's substantial physical risk to woman's life, while 89% of the citizens assembly have voted that abortion should be available in cases of rape.

Vindication

It is essential that politicians respond quickly to the outcomes of the Citizen’s Assembly and set the country on course for a referendum, according to Independent Minister, Dr Katherine Zappone.

Minister Zappone says the outcomes of the deliberations on the Eighth Amendment are a vindication for all who placed faith in their fellow citizens.

Minister Zappone added: "The outcomes clearly show a desire for progressive, woman-centred abortion law in Ireland; for law that will ensure pregnant persons can exercise their autonomy at home in this country."