Former judge criticises abortion hearings for covering old ground

The Oireachtas hearings on abortion are in their final day

A retired Supreme Court judge has criticised the Oireachtas hearings on abortion for going over old ground. Mrs. Justice Catherine McGuinness is addressing the hearings this afternoon which are examining the proposed heads of the Bill.

The hearings will conclude today and the committee will report to the coalition before final laws are drafted. Mrs. Justice McGuinness says the Committee was supposed to have moved on from arguing over the 'X Case'.

Earlier a lawyer told the hearing that the proposed law will legislate for the killing of babies. Lawyers and legal experts are appearing before the committee today ahead of it reporting back to government.

Barrister Paul Brady insisted this legislation will make a major change to the law and create a basis in law for the ending of a child's life.

The Committee has already heard differing views from obstetricians and psychiatrists on the first and second day of hearing at the Oireachtas health committee. It will report to the government before the final draft of the laws comes before the Dáil and Seanad. 

Psychiatrists differed yesterday on whether the coalition should be including the threat of suicide in the law. Last night medical experts called for some changes to the current drafting. 

Chairman of the Mental Health Commission John Saunders noted a possible problem with appeals.

Consultant cardiologist Dr. Kevin Walsh says it will mean some women with life-threatening health problems will not have to travel to the UK.