Simon Harris Offers Help to Repeal Groups
Minister for Health Simon Harris has offered his political support and assistance to two groups campaigning to repeal the Eighth Amendment. He met the Women’s Council of Ireland and the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment last Friday to discuss the upcoming referendum on Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution, which protects the life of the mother and the unborn child.
The Minister outlined to both groups the process ahead of the referendum, which is due to be held by the end of May, and the key dates in the Government’s timeline.
Speaking to The Irish Times, he said, “I was delighted to meet with representatives of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment and the National Women’s Council of Ireland to brief them. A strong civil society campaign will be key in the weeks ahead and I look forward to helping in any way I can.”
At the meeting, the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment outlined its plans ahead of the referendum campaign and expressed its desire for politicians to provide leadership on this issue. Convenor of the group Ailbhe Smyth described the discussions with Mr Harris as “very helpful, very productive and very positive”.
“We both have the same objective which is to repeal the Eighth Amendment,” Ms Smyth said, “and so it is essential organisations and politicians who share that objective work together. We are very grateful for the Minister’s support in this regard.”
Mr Harris is one of nine Cabinet members, including Mr Varadkar, who supports allowing for aborttions on request up to 12 weeks. Others, including Tánaiste Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and Minister for Communications Denis Naughten, have expressed concern about the 12-week measure. The Cabinet will discuss this matter on February 28th, ahead of the publication of the Referendum Bill on March 6th.
The Irish Times. February 10.