Most FF TDs Oppose Abortion Referendum
Over half of Fianna Fáil TDs voted against the holding of an abortion referendum, despite their party leader’s strong support for the referendum. They joined two Fine Gael, one Sinn Féin, and eight independents in opposing the government’s abortion plan. A Dáil majority of 110 to 32 will allow the Government to press ahead with plans to hold the abortion vote before the end of May.
Only two Fine Gael TDs voted against the Bill, Peter Fitzpatrick (Louth) and Seán Barrett (Dún Laoghaire), the former Ceann Comhairle. However, there was surprise around Leinster House at the number of Fianna Fáil TDs who voted against. The FF TDs who opposed the abortion referendum were Bobby Aylward (Carlow-Kilkenny), Declan Breathnach (Louth), Mary Butler (Waterford), Jackie Cahill (Tipperary) ,Pat Casey (Wicklow), Shane Cassells (Meath West), Jack Chambers (Dublin West), John Curran (Dublin Mid-West), Pat the Cope Gallagher (Donegal), Seán Haughey (Dublin Bay North), Marc MacSharry (Sligo-Leitrim), John McGuinness (Carlow-Kilkenny), Aindrias Moynihan (Cork North-West), Margaret Murphy O'Mahony (Cork South-West), Eugene Murphy (Roscommon – Galway), Kevin O'Keeffe (Cork East), Frank O'Rourke (Kildare North), Éamon Ó Cuív (Galway West), Eamon Scanlon (Sligo-Leitrim), Brendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan), and Niamh Smyth (Cavan-Monaghan).
Sinn Féin TD Carol Nolan (Offaly) was the only one of its TDs to vote against party on the issue. Unlike Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, Sinn Féin does not permit a free vote on matters of conscience. Deputy Nolan was punished by being suspended from the party for three months. Peadar Tóibín (Meath West) was not present for the vote but had previously made it clear he opposes repeal of the Eighth Amendment. A Sinn Féin spokesman said he had made the party aware he would be unavailable yesterday because of a family matter.
Eight Independent TDs voted against the abortion referendum bill. They were Seán Canney (Galway East), Michael Collins (Cork South-West), Michael Fitzmaurice (Roscommon – Galway), Noel Grealish (Galway West), Danny Healy-Rae (Kerry), Michael Healy-Rae (Kerry), Michael Lowry (Tipperary), and Mattie McGrath (Tipperary).
It is expected that some of those TDs who voted for the referendum to take place will, nonetheless, campaign for a No vote.
Irish Independent. March 22. Oireachtas. March 21.