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Councillor behind motion opposing abortion legislation is disappointed at Fianna Fáil leader’s position

Cllr Rena Donaghey's motion opposing any form of legislation on abortion was passed by Donegal County Council Council

Staff Reporter

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Staff Reporter

Councillor behind motion opposing legislation is disappointed at Fianna Fáil leader’s position

Cllr Rena Donaghey

The Fianna Fáil county councillor who tabled a motion opposing any form of legislation on abortion has said she is disappointed at Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin’s position on the Eighth Amendment.
Cllr Rena Donaghey made the comments after Micheál Martin told the Dáil that he favours repealing the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution and that he accepts the recommendation of the Oireachtas Committee that terminations should be permitted up to 12 weeks gestation.
Donegal’s two Fianna Fáil TDs, Charlie McConalogue and Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher, have both said they are against a repeal of the Eighth Amendment.
Two Donegal TDs, Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty and independent Thomas Pringle, have said they support the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.
Deputy Doherty has said his party position is that they support repeal of the Eighth Amendment, but do not support unrestricted abortion at this time.
Fine Gael minister of state and chief whip, Joe McHugh has not declared his position. A spokesman said yesterday that the chief whip would not reveal his views on the Eighth Amendment until he sees the legislation that would replace it.
A referendum on the Eighth Amendment is due to take place in late May or June.
Before a referendum takes place, the Dáil and Seanad must vote in favour .
Cllr Donaghey tabled a motion in July 2012 that was passed by Donegal County Council Council opposing any form of legislation on abortion.
The motion was backed by 17 councillors , with six abstentions and one vote against.
Cllr Donaghey said she believes the majority of Fianna Fáil councillors feel the same way about the issue today. She said she has had a lot of people expressing their support to the position she has taken.
“I have not changed my mind in any shape or form,” she told the Donegal Democrat. “I am still of the same opinion and I will be voting against any change in the Constitution.”
She said she was disappointed at the view the Fianna Fáil leader expressed but acknowledged that it was his personal opinion.
"Yes I have to say I was (disappointed) but it is a personal opinion. I have to accept that it is a personal opinion and everyone has a right to their own personal opinion. The good thing is that there is no whip (in the Dáil vote) and everyone's free to vote with their own mind and their own conscience.”
A number of meetings opposed to the change to Eighth Amendment are due to be held in the coming days in Donegal.
Donegal Pro-Life is launching a DVD called Why We Should Keep the Eighth Amendment tonight in the Mount Errigal Hotel in Letterkenny.
A Pro Life meeting for North-West Donegal will take place next Monday at Óstán Loch Altan.
Chairperson of Donegal Pro-Life Margaret McGeehan said the group had produced the video to show the positive sides of the Eighth Amendment.
“We feel the government and the media are just pushing one side and in fact the positive side of the Eighth Amendment is not being given to the people.”
Cathleen Shiels of the Abortion Rights Campaign Donegal said Mr Martin’s decision was a brave one which will help people in “the middle” make their decision.
“It was a very welcome surprise to see him come out and say that,” she said.
“It was a brave decision and it is the same for a lot of TDs and senators.It is brave for these politicians to come out and make their opinion clear.”