Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (805)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

814 Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health further to the report on the front page of a publication (details supplied) that he has sent a circular letter to his Fine Gael Party colleagues informing them that Ireland must bring in abortion along the lines of the X case, if he will make this letter available in public; the reason he reportedly said Ireland must legalise abortion when there is absolutely no prerogative on this Government to do so particularly in view of its pre election pro-life promise to the people of Ireland; his views on whether it is the Irish people, not any European court who should decide Ireland’s abortion laws; when the recommendations of the Government appointed expert group are due to be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35172/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

I wish to advise the Deputy that I did not send a circular letter to my Fine Gael colleagues on the issue of abortion. I responded to a representation made by one member of the Parliamentary Party on the implementation of the A,B and C v Ireland judgment of the European Court of Human Rights. This response merely provides factual information which has already been put on the public record.

I wish to assure the Deputy that this judgment does not alter in any way the State's position on abortion. This is that termination of pregnancy is legal in Ireland only if it is established, as a matter of probability, that there is a real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the health, of the mother and that this real and substantial risk can only be averted by the termination of her pregnancy (the X case criteria).