The Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party met today to consider the recent Oireachtas Health Committee hearings on the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill 2013.
Following a comprehensive and respectful discussion among the Parliamentary Party over recent weeks and months, the Party Leader Micheál Martin today proposed to colleagues that individual TDs and Senators be permitted to vote according to their individual conscience on the Bill. His proposal was accepted by general consensus.
Deputy Martin commented, “Since this debate began, we have been consistent in our determination not to be political with the issue and to show respect to the different strands of opinion.
“Our preference in this process was to come to a shared, consensual view on the Bill. However, given the genuine and deeply held convictions on both sides of the debate, it is clear that this is not possible. In response, my view was that the most appropriate course of action was to respect these differences of conscience and allow colleagues to vote on that basis.
“Despite the different perspectives on elements of the Bill, the Parliamentary Party reaffirmed our commitment to protecting the lives of pregnant women in this country, expressed our ongoing commitment to Article 40.3.3 of Bunreacht na h’Éireann and restated our determination not to seek to party political advantage from this issue.”