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20.43 24 Jan 2018


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The Children's Minister has ramped up pressure on the Taoiseach to reveal his stance on abortion.

Katherine Zappone told the Dáil politicians can't shirk their responsibility in the debate.

She said she believes the 8th amendment should be repealed without replacing it with anything in the Constitution.

Leo Varadkar has said he will not reveal his position on abortion until he knows what question will be put to people in a referendum.

However, Minister Zappone says public representatives should make their positions known.

Speaking in the Dáil chamber, the independent minister said: "This is a time for political courage, not political cowardice. I welcome that many deputies have chosen to participate in these statements, in this House and beyond.

"This is too important of an issue for politicians to shirk away from their responsibilities. In the coming weeks, the public have a right to hear the view of every member of this House."

Speaking about her own support for repealing the 8th amendment, she argued that women 'know what we can bear... we know what we cannot'.

She added: "We know that we can bear no more. If we are to be the republic to which we aspire, we must repeal the 8th amendment, we must make abortion lawfully available, and we must commit ourselves fully to reproductive rights for all."

Katherine Zappone ramps up pressure on Taoiseach to reveal his stance on abortion

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Some middle ground TDs, meanwhile, say they are conflicted on repealing the 8th amendment.

Fianna Fáil TD Fiona O'Loughlin says she's pro-life, but the debate has challenged her views.

She argued: "I battle with what I feel is right and what is wrong. It is wrong to destroy a life, but it is also wrong to refuse a choice to a woman who is in a crisis situation about what is right for her.

"It cannot be right to insist that a woman has to carry a child that will not survive, or is the result of rape or incest."

Fianna Fáil TD Declan Breathnach said his time as a teacher informed his decision to oppose repealing the 8th amendment:

Additional reporting by Stephen McNeice


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