Taoiseach requests Friday Dáil sitting to discuss abortion referendum

The Government is waiting for a Supreme Court ruling on the rights of the unborn before publishing a bill

Taoiseach requests Friday Dáil sitting to discuss abortion referendum

Leo Varadkar after last night's Cabinet meeting. Photograph: Eamonn Farrell / RollingNews.ie

The Taoiseach has requested the Dáil to sit on Friday to discuss the proposed Eighth Amendment referendum.

The Government is hopeful of introducing a bill to officially call a referendum on abortion on Thursday.

The Taoiseach is eager for a debate on the issue to start this week as the Dáil is off next week.

Ministers are waiting for tomorrow's Supreme Court ruling on the rights of the unborn before signing off on the bill.

The case involves a Nigerian man, his Irish partner and their child, who was unborn when the legal proceedings began in 2015.

Last year, the High Court ruled that the man’s unborn child had rights in the Constitution outside of the right to life.

If the Supreme Court agrees, it could have a real impact on plans to hold a referendum on the Eighth Amendment - as it could mean that repealing the Eighth might not be enough to introduce new abortion laws.

The Government is currently planning to hold an abortion referendum in late May.