'Together for Yes' campaign to repeal Eighth Amendment launched in Dublin

It comes as the bill to hold a referendum passed all stages in the Dáil

'Together for Yes' campaign to repeal Eighth Amendment launched in Dublin

Fine Gael Minister for Health Simon Harris with Fine Gael TD Kate O Connell (2ndL), Senator Catherine Noone(1stL) and Marcella Corcoran Kennedy(1stR) talking to the media for the launch of the Together for Yes Campaign on the Eighth Amendment. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

More than 70 organisations have come together to launch a campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

The 'Together for Yes' campaign sees groups such as Doctors For Choice, The National Women’s Council and Rape Crisis Network Ireland joining forces.

Other groups involved in the campaign include Women’s Aid, Irish Family Planning Association and the Union of Students in Ireland.

Dr Peter Boylan - former Master of the National Maternity Hospital - was among the speakers at today's event.

He argued: "It is an Irish problem, and we do need to have our own Irish solution to it.

"Our women are travelling outside the country - protected by the Constitution - to do something that is a criminal act in this country. We need really to face up to what's happening."

He added: "[There's] also the fact that women are accessing pills, and taking them without any medical involvement... [that's] a cause for concern."

Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness - former Justice of the Supreme Court - delivered the keynote address at the launch.

She observed: "I opposed the amendment in 1983 and I am a determined supporter of the Yes campaign this time round."

Referendum bill

Today's launch comes after the abortion referendum bill passed all stages in the Dáil last night.

The legislation now heads to the Seanad, where a debate is scheduled for next week.

Education Minister Richard Bruton says the Government is on target for a public vote in May.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, Minister Bruton explained: "There is an appetite generally across the Dáil - with a small number of exceptions - and in the Seanad that the people, after 35 years, should have a chance to express their view on this.

"There may be people who differ as to what should be the outcome, or to where the pendulum should finally set - but I think people do recognise that it's time a whole new generation should have a chance to express their view."