Northern Ireland news

New anti-abortion republican party holds first meeting in north

Peadar Tóibín TD addressing a meeting of his new party at Walsh's Hotel in Maghera, Co Derry. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

THE NEW republican party set up by Peadar Tóibín held its first meeting north of the border last night.

Several hundred people attended the meeting of the unnamed all-Ireland party at Walsh's Hotel in Maghera, Co Derry.

Supporters at last night's event included the late Martin McGuinness's brother Declan and former Sinn Féin mayor of Limavady Anne Brolly and her husband Francie, an ex-East Derry MLA.

Mr Tóibín, a pro-life Meath West TD, left Sinn Féin last month claiming he had been ostracised because of his opposition to abortion.

A meeting in Navan, Co Meath, several weeks ago was attended by 300 people.

Further meetings are planned for across the north early in the new year.

Mr Tóibín told The Irish News earlier this month the party planned to contest next May's local government elections in Northern Ireland and would run selection conventions for candidates in late January.

He said "25 elected representatives at all levels and about one thousand people" had committed to get involved in the new party, which positions itself on the left.

Meanwhile, new abortion legislation in the Republic yesterday passed all stages of the Oireachtas.

The legislation is expected to be signed by President Michael D Higgins within days.

Abortions are due to be legal in the Republic from January 1.

The move comes after voters opted in May to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Irish constitution which gave equal weight to the life of a mother and her unborn child.

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