BY EMMA CONNOLLY
and KIERAN O’MAHONY
TWO of the three Cork South West (CSW) TDs have emphatically declared they don’t agree with a repeal of the 8th Amendment.
In interviews with The Southern Star, Fianna Fáil TD Margaret Murphy O’Mahony and Michael Collins (Ind) admitted they won’t be supporting the upcoming referendum on repealing the 8th, and, according to current wording, allowing unrestricted access to abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Meanwhile, Clonakilty’s Jim Daly has declined to make any comment at all on the matter as yet.
Acknowledging her views are different to that of her leader Mícheál Martin, Deputy Murphy O’Mahony has declared she is against repeal of the 8th, and doesn’t accept the recommendation of the Oireachtas Committee that terminations should be permitted up to 12 weeks. ‘I’m carrying on with my stance, but I won’t be shoving it down anyone’s throat,’ she said.
Deputy Murphy O’Mahony admitted she was a ‘bit surprised’ at the FF leader’s decision. ‘I guess he gave his own personal stance, and even though I disagree with him, he is entitled to his own opinion. What’s also important in this debate is that people respect everyone’s opinion.’
Meanwhile, Goleen’s Deputy Collins told The Southern Star that he is ‘against abortion. Full stop.’
‘I have my own conscience to answer to, and I made my position on this very clear prior to my election,’ he said.
‘I’m not against referendums, but this comes down to whether or not we want abortion in Ireland, and I don’t want to live in a country where it’s available. People’s lives have been saved because we have the 8th Amendment, and women have had time to think about things.’
He acknowledged that there are ‘people in difficulty’ and that ‘further State resources should be allocated to those dealing with crisis pregnancies.’ However, he hit out at members of the Dail who, he said, are ‘hiding behind ditches and not being straight’, ahead of a meeting next Tuesday which is expected to announce the final wording and likely referendum date.
Junior Minister at the Department of Health, Jim Daly told The Southern Star: ‘I have no comment to make in the absence of any agreed proposal by the Government.’
In Cork South Central, Tanáiste Simon Coveney took a similar stance: ‘In the coming month I have three roles when it comes to the proposed referendum: that of Tánaiste, that of a TD, and that of a citizen. At the moment I am solely focused on my responsibilities as a member of Cabinet to obtain legal certainty on a referendum and to be certain on the direction of travel of any law to be put before the Dáil. Once the Cabinet has completed its work, I will be very clear on my vote as a TD and ultimately as a citizen.’
In the same constituency, FF’s Michael McGrath has already said he favours replacing, rather than repealing, the amendment.
In Cork North West, FF Deputy Michael Moynihan said he has been giving the matter a ‘lot of thought’ and said he has ‘concerns’ over a repeal of the 8th. ‘I will wait to see what is being put in place and make my position clear in the Dáil at that stage.’
A spokesman for Agriculture Minister Michael Creed of Cork North West, said: ‘The Minister’s position has been that he will not be making any public comment until the government deliberations have concluded.’
In the same constituency FF’s Aindrias Moynihan said he didn’t support abortion and would be looking at this ‘through a pro-life lens.’
The Southern Star was unable to contact SF’s Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire (Cork South Central).