CORK South West Fine Gael TD Jim Daly has admitted he could face a voter backlash after finally announcing his support of repeal of the 8th Amendment, including allowing abortion up to 12 weeks.
Acknowledging that he is part of a ‘political minority’ to take this stance, he said abortion is not a ‘perfect solution’ but that the current proposals are ‘as close as we can come to a just solution’.
The Minister of State in the Department of Health described himself as a practising Catholic and while he doesn’t expect everyone to agree or accept his views ‘on a matter of conscience’, he hopes at the very least people will respect them.
‘I appreciate many of my voters will not share my views and will be annoyed to read my thoughts … this stance may cost me political support, but for the past 14 years as a public representative I have always sought to do what is right, as opposed to what is popular.’
In a statement exclusive to The Southern Star, Deputy Daly said that Irish women are entitled to a safe and legal abortion regime.
‘The current unregulated abortion system poses a clear and present danger to tens of thousands of Irish women. As a citizen, let alone a legislator, I cannot condone the absence of a decisive response to this issue. We cannot, if we are to have any moral courage as a political class, pull the ladder up, retreat into the clouds and hope this issue goes away.
‘I believe as a legislator, a Minister, a citizen, a husband and a father, that the moral thing to do, no matter how politically difficult, is to deal pragmatically and caringly with this issue.’
He continued: ‘I would urge every citizen to consider the issue of abortion arising within the four walls of their own family home. What law would you like to be in place to help your sister, daughter or loved one?’
He said that repealing the 8th was the easy part: ‘Abandoning the issue of what sort of a regime we create is not leadership. It is soft politics which fails to deal with the consequences of our acts. That is why I also support the committee’s recommendations on 12 weeks, on rape, on fatal foetal abnormality, and the need for a GP-led service. I also believe, having read the medical testimony, that 12 weeks is the minimum acceptable timeframe.’
Minister Daly is the only Cork FG TD, and the only Cork South West TD, to take this position.