Fine Gael criticised for 'putting one woman's career ahead of all women's need for a referendum'

As discussions between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael continue in their attempt to prevent the government collapsing over the role of Minister Frances Fitzgerald in the Maurice McCabe scandal, Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger has for action to allow a referendum on the Repeal of the 8th Amendment to be fast-tracked through the Dáil. 

Should the government collapse, the Oireachtas Committee on the 8th Amendment which is still discussing the issue would also collapse.

Deputy Coppinger said "What is required for a referendum to go ahead in May is for the Oireachtas Committee on the 8th Amendment to immediately vote for Repeal - something it should have done weeks ago - and for a very simple Bill to be progressed through the Dail within the next month.

She continued "Solidarity-People Before Profit proposed a Repeal of the Eighth Amendment Bill last October, so that Bill is there which the government can use so the referendum is not postponed. Tomorrow in the Dail I intend to raise this issue at the first opportunity. This is the biggest issue for many young people who have registered in their thousands only this week to vote in a referendum. The government and Fianna Fáil should be aware of the potential reaction at the ballot box from these first-time voters should they decide to jeopardise a referendum

She accused Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of being "very concerned to defend the career of one woman, rather than the rights of all women. By excusing bad practice and hurtling the country towards a pre-Christmas election, a major social change requiring a referendum is being pushed back.

“We never had confidence in this government of the rich and want to see the end of it, but they should ensure in the timing of their going that a referendum is not delayed."

It is expected that talks between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael will continue today before a decision on whether a 'No Confidence' motion in Fitzgerald from Fianna Fail will go ahead tomorrow and spark an election.