Government due to get legal advice on wording of abortion referendum before Cabinet meeting

Richard Bruton said he believes "we will soon have a robust proposition"

The Government is due to get legal advice on the wording of an abortion referendum before Monday's Cabinet meeting.

The Attorney General has been examining whether a line needs to be added to the constitution to allow the Oireachtas to legislate for abortion.

The Government is concerned that, even if the 8th amendment is repealed, there may be other protections for the unborn in the Constitution.

Minister Richard Bruton, meanwhile, says he will not publicly reveal his position on abortion until after the cabinet has considered it.

The Education Minister said: "It's my view that I will wait until we have a proposition agreed in Cabinet with all of the legal advice, and clearly I will be supporting the view that emerges from that.

"I'm making my contributions within the parliamentary party and within Cabinet, and I believe we will soon have a robust proposition."

Separately, a Fine Gael TD believes the current minority Government will face huge challenges if it tries to legislate for abortion after a referendum.

An Ipsos/MRBI poll for The Irish Times today showed 56% of people would support allowing abortion without restriction for up to 12 weeks into the pregnancy.

However, Longford-Westmeath TD Peter Burke claimed he will only support a repeal of the 8th if there is an alternative text proposed which will give rights to the unborn.

Deputy Burke highlighted the challenge while speaking to Shannonside.

He observed: "I think it would be fundamentally dishonest if a government goes to the country saying 'we want to repeal the 8th amendment, and we want to put this legislation in place for access to abortion up to 12 weeks'.

"The Government has not got a majority [...] So who's going to put this legislation through the Dáil?"