Written Answers. - Abortion Referendum.

Michael Ring

Question:

490 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children when the Government will provide a referendum on abortion; if it will be held prior to June 2002; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19356/00]

Gerry Reynolds

Question:

491 Mr. G. Reynolds asked the Minister for Health and Children the plans he has to put a referendum to the people on the abortion issue before the end of 2000 or the end of the current Dáil; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19894/00]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 490 and 491 together.

Following its publication in September 1999 the Green Paper on abortion was referred by the Government to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Constitution for consideration. The question of whether there should be a further referendum and, if so, its nature, are matters which the committee is considering in the course of its work.

I understand that the committee is at present preparing a report to the Government. The Government will await the outcome of the committee's deliberations before further considering the issues discussed in the Green Paper.