Fine Gael’s three most senior members in Limerick City Michael Noonan, and Senators Kieran O’Donnell and Maria Byrne, have yet to state their opinion on the Eighth Amendment referendum
SINN Fein Senator Paul Gavan has called on Fine Gael’s public representatives in Limerick city to “come out of hiding” with their views on repeal of the Eighth amendment.
Fine Gael’s two Limerick representatives in the Upper House, Kieran O’Donnell and Maria Byrne, have yet to state their views on the referendum to remove the provision in the Constituion which protects the right to life of the unborn with due regard to the life of the mother.
They followed in the footsteps of the former Finance Minister Michael Noonan, who last week declined to reveal his intentions when contacted by the Leader.
While Ms Byrne did not return calls this Wednesday, Mr O’Donnell issued a brief statement, saying: “I think it’s appropriate to await the outcome of the Supreme Court hearing around this issue before commenting further.”
The views of senators in relation to the issue are important as they will vote on any legislation the government brings forward. The 60 members of the Upper House can also initiate amendments, and also vote to delay any proposed changes to the law.
Mr Gavan, who is backing, repeal has criticised Fine Gael in Limerick for not making their views known.
“It’s very disappointing to see Kieran using the upcoming Supreme Court hearing as an excuse to not say where he stands. We need leadership from our political representatives on this crucial issue.
“To not offer a position is doing a huge disservice to the people of Limerick, who have a right to know where their public representatives stand on this,” the Castleconnell man said.
He also urged Mr Noonan, as Limerick’s most senior politician, to make his views on the controversial issue known.
“Michael Noonan is arguably the most experienced politician in the state. He’s had 35 years to make up his mind on the issue.
“How much longer does he need?
“We’ve had four previous referenda around this topic, a Citizens Assembly, an Oireachtas committee report, and in three months’ time we will be voting on the issue. It’s extraordinary Mr Noonan could say nothing more than he will be stating his position in due course,” he said.
Mr Noonan declined to comment further this Wednesday.
Last week, the Limerick Leader revealed that four of the city and county’s deputies were in favour of repealing the eighth amendment, with two against. While Minister Patrick O’Donovan and Deputy Willie O’Dea are against repeal, Tom Neville, Niall Collins, Jan O’Sullivan and Maurice Quinlivan are in favour.