Updated: 23/02/18 : 05:33:19
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'Abortion referendum should be postponed' - Scanlon

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

A SLIGO TD has called for the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment to be postponed.

Deputy Eamon Scanlon was speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Thursday.

He was highly critical of the Citizens Assembly, which he had raised with the Taoiseach early last year, he recalled.

“At that time,” said Deputy Scanlon, “nine counties were not represented on the Citizens' Assembly. 

“We have now seen what has taken place. We hear it on the radio, see it on television and read about it in the papers. See link below.

“We have 26 counties,” Deputy Scanlon continued.....only to be reminded in an interruption by Sinn Féin’s Aengus O Snodaigh that there are 32 counties.

“Surely the sensible and most democratic thing to do would be to select two per county,” said the Sligo TD.

“After that, the other 47 (places ) could be weighted in favour of the....." (interruptions).

‘Process Compromised’

Added Deputy Scanlon: “We have seen what happened. Of those who joined the Citizens' Assembly, 13 were replaced.

“Seven were appointed in an unapproved manner. I think this is wrong. 

“I genuinely believe this referendum should be postponed and that the whole process is compromised.

“I will call for a full and immediate audit of the Citizens' Assembly's entire recruitment process over the last 18 months. 

“I think it has been compromised,” said the Ballymote based Fianna Fáil TD.

Deputy Scanlon was supported by a number of independent TDs including Mattie McGrath and Danny Healy Rae.

Sinn Fein TD Louise O’Reilly described the debate as “utterly ridiculous. 

“The matter has got absolutely nothing to do with the referendum on the Eighth Amendment,” she added.

After Mr Scanlon’s intervention and concern about the assembly recruitment process, Health Minister Simon Harris told him the assembly had met and made its recommendations.

“Our colleagues in this House, people I respect regardless of what jersey they wear or don’t wear in terms of their politics, have carried out a process (in the Oireachtas committee),” he said. “Soon every citizen in every county will get their say on this issue and that’s the job of work we have to do. Give the people their say and let them have their say at the end of May.”

Link: See Sligo Today 22/2/2018