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Not the solution x case sunset clause plan falls foul of both sides

Thursday, 18th April, 2013 3:00am

A proposal by a Cork Government TD has raised eyebrows on both sides of the abortion debate, by suggesting that a sunset clause be inserted into whatever legislation is proposed by the Government in relation to the X Case in the next few months.  

Cork North West Fine Gael TD Michael Creed has sent a letter to the Taoiseach asking him to consider including a clause that would allow the Oireachtas to re-examine the legislation in a defined time period.  

"It's not unusual to have such a clause in any legislation," said Mr Creed.  

"Call it a sunset clause, call it a review, it is a structured, consultative way to re-examine legislation - be it 12 months, be it two years. It can useful to address  unintentional  outcomes such as a more liberal regime than is intended. It is prudent to have such a clause in the legislation."

Mr Creed confirmed that he had spoken briefly with An Taoiseach this week regarding the issue.  

Mr Creed stressed that he was not pandering to either side of the debate, adding that both sides are opposed to such a move.  

"This is as complex a piece of legislation that the Dáil will ever deal with. It has constitutional, political, medical and societal issues at play. The pro-life side don't want this clause as they don't want any legislation while the pro-choice side don't want restrictions. I'm looking at the broad, middle ground - middle Ireland if you will. This is a difficult balancing act but I want to see best medical  practice  ensured in our hospitals."

However, Mr Creed stressed he did not want to see a more liberal regime occur through the legislation on the X Case,  which  he could not say if he would vote for, ahead of seeing the actual bill itself.  

Opposition

True to Mr Creed's assertion, both sides of the debate in Cork were opposed to such a clause.  

"We don't see how a 'sunset clause', how ever well-intentioned, makes any sense," said Máire Ní Loingsigh, a member of Cork Life Institute.  

"The Government is proposing to legalise the direct and intentional killing of unborn children and that's not something that can be justified by promising to review the situation some years down the line. Cork TDs are hearing a huge amount of concern from their constituents who don't want abortion legalised. Clearly TDs feel under pressure to act, but a sunset clause is not the answer."

Kathy Darcy of the Cork Pro-Choice Alliance expressed her disgust at the suggestion of a sunset clause.

"I'm so disgusted by the pro-life rhetoric that women are going to be lining up for terminations left, right and centre," said Ms Darcy.  

"What we want is the freedom to choose what different women need. I'm insulted by the idea of a sunset clause. This is the s*** that we have to put up with."

Ms Darcy highlighted a recent play that took place in Triskel Christchurch that depicted real life stories of women who had to travel for terminations.  

"What we are trying to do is tell the real life stories of women, not preach to the converted or ram an idea down someone's throat. It's real situations that are happening."  

If you are a member of a pro-life group in Cork, please get in touch at 021-4288566

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