Republic of Ireland news

Referendum on Republic's abortion laws to be held next year

A referendum on the Republic's abortion laws is to be held next year

A REFERENDUM on the Republic's strict abortion laws is to be held next year.

Newly-appointed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil yesterday that health minister Simon Harris will make preparations for the referendum.

He told the Dáil yesterday Mr Harris will be "responsible for bringing forward legislation to allow for a referendum on Eighth Amendment in 2018".

Mr Varadkar has previously said that the Republic's laws on abortion are too strict.

During his campaign for the Fine Gael leadership last month, he told a hustings event in Carlow: "I come at it both as a politician and as a doctor but also as a brother and an uncle".

"Like Simon [Coveney], I don’t agree with abortion on request but I also am very sure the Eighth Amendment is too restrictive," he said.

He said the law only allowed a termination when there was a threat the woman might die, not that her health might be permanently damaged, or in cases of rape, incest or when a child did not have a chance of survival.

"I think there are circumstances in which we should allow it that does means replacing the Eighth Amendment with something else," he said.

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