Cabinet signs off on 8th amendment referendum bill

The Attorney-General is understood to have no concerns over a Supreme Court ruling

Cabinet signs off on 8th amendment referendum bill

Pictured (left to right) Minister for Children Katherine Zappone, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris | Image: Eamonn Farrell/

Updated: 13.00

The Cabinet has signed off on a bill to call a referendum on the 8th amendment.

Ministers approved the bill, which outlines what question will be put to people, with a likely referendum date in May.

The Cabinet unanimously approved the bill on Thursday morning.

The Attorney-General also briefed the Cabinet but it is understood he had no concerns about yesterday's Supreme Court ruling, which found that the unborn have no rights under the Constitution outside of the 8th amendment.

Health Minister Simon Harris outlined what question people will be asked: 'To repeal Article 40.3.3 in its entirety, and replace it with the wording that we've already published - the 13 words that would go into the Constitution that would make it clear that provision may be made in law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy".

A referendum commission will be set up on Friday, and will be chaired by High Court Judge Isobel Kennedy.

Also on Friday, the Government will publish a policy paper outlining what laws it would try to bring in if the 8th amendment is repealed.

The referendum bill now has to go before the Dáil and Seanad, starting Friday.

Some TDs believe there will be 48 hours of debate on the issue needed before it can pass.

However the Government is confident their timeline of having a referendum in late May is still on track.