GOVERNMENT tensions mean draft abortion legislation is not yet finalised.
Health Minister James Reilly will only give a rough briefing to the Cabinet today on the proposed laws as a result.
number of highly contentious issues have still to be worked out before
Dr Reilly brings a formal memorandum on the abortion legislation to
Labour Party ministers are firing warning shots about the suicide test in the new abortion laws.
The question of the duration into the pregnancy where an abortion can take place is also highly sensitive.
than bringing a written memorandum to the Government, Dr Reilly will
only give ministers a verbal briefing on progress to date. The first
draft of proposals is supposed to be brought to Cabinet in the coming
The suicide test is the great area of sensitivity in Fine Gael,
with demands for it to be extremely stringent.
Labour agrees to the
suicide test, but says it has to be practical and is ruling out panels
of four or five psychiatrists being involved.
Dr Reilly yesterday
denied there would be any delay in the memo going to Cabinet in the wake
of the tensions within the Coalition over how to legislate for the X
"Not at all, I'll be updating the Cabinet tomorrow, as I said I would. I'm working very closely with Alex White and Kathleen Lynch
on this and we're making great progress, and we hope to have this
legislation as quickly as possible," he said.
However, he did admit the
issue had been the cause of "tensions" within both Fine Gael and Labour.
tensions within the parties on this. Let's face it, we all know how
divisive this issue is; it's divided households in the past. I think the
matter has been conducted in a very sensible way to date, and I'd like
it to continue that way," he said.
One of the key areas of
difference between the two parties is over how to frame the law
regarding the risk of suicide by the mother as grounds for an abortion.
Labour Party members are suspicious about Dr Reilly not providing them with any written details on the proposals.
is frustration on our side that Reilly is keeping his cards very close
to his chest and we haven't seen the detail," a Labour source said.