Taoiseach calls for Eighth Amendment expert group

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

An expert group chaired by “an appropriate woman” should examine changes to the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

Mr Kenny was yesterday asked to set out his position after his party’s preferred coalition partners, Labour, committed to a referendum on repealing the amendment.

The amendment inserted an article which reads: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

Mr Kenny said: “I want to work with an expert group which I expect will be chaired by an appropriate woman to work with the Oireachtas all-party committee.”

He said the expert group would have to return “a consensus” for a referendum on its recommendations to take place.

Mr Kenny stressed: “It is not as simple as saying change the Eighth Amendment, take out a bit of it, put something else back in.

“If you want to reflect the changed values of a changed society then you have to have a consensus.”

He added: “I have no wish to politicise a matter as personal and as sensitive as this.”

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