Taoiseach says it will be January 1st 2019 before new abortion laws take full effect

Leo Varadkar has also backed calls for the Dáil to sit during the summer recess if necessary

Taoiseach says it will be January 1st 2019 before new abortion laws take full effect

Leo Varadkar. Photo: Leah Farrell/ RollingNews.ie

The Taoiseach says it will be the 1st of January 2019 before new abortion laws take effect.

He has also warned that trying to change current legislation in the meantime may only delay the overall bill from passing.

It comes after the Cabinet gave Health Minister Simon Harris approval to draft the new laws at this morning's meeting.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says that, despite the massive endorsement from the people at the weekend, it will take a while to change the law.

He explained: "We will need clinical guidelines as well, and it will be necessary to regulate and licence the new medicines.

"It's still our anticipation that it will be the end of the year, 1st of January 2019, before we have fully given effect to the will of the people, even with the best intentions."

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and other politicians have called for the Dáil to sit during the summer recess in order to speed up the passage of the legislation.

Today, Deputy Martin called for a 'prompt' and 'proactive' response to the referendum results, saying: "Irish people have spoken emphatically. In a clear and decisive manner, the people, through the referendum, have voted for change - for new laws, which will end the cruel inflexibility of the Eighth Amendment.

"The people have given the Oireachtas the mandate and indeed the obligation to legislate for a new approach - an approach that trusts women and their doctors."

Addressing calls for an extended Dáil sitting, the Taoiseach noted: "Yes, we are in agreement with your suggestion that if necessary the Dáil be extended into the [summer] recess to allow that matter - that matter alone - to be legislated for."

Simon Harris yesterday confirmed legislation giving effect to the referendum on abortion will be brought before the Dáil ahead of the summer recess.

Reporting by Sean Defoe and Stephen McNeice