Brendan Howlin calls for all-party approach on abortion referendum bill

Update 6.10pm: Labour party leader Brendan Howlin has called for an all-party approach in the Oireachtas on the passage of the abortion referendum bill.

"It is clear that whatever views individual TDs may hold about this question that a near consensus is emerging that it should be adjudicated on by the people in a referendum," said Deputy Howlin.

He said he hoped to meet with the Taoiseach to discuss the issue early in the new year.

“I think we all know that the timeline here is relatively tight but not prohibitively so.

"I am assuming that the Government will declare its intention to proceed with recommendation of the Oireachtas Committee and that that decision will have the support of the Taoiseach at least.

"Anything less would make a mockery of the process."

He added the Labour party will support a referendum proposal.

Earlier 4pm: Pro-life TD says abortion referendum 'has to happen'

It is "not a runner" for pro-life TDs to vote against having an abortion referendum, according to one Fianna Fáil deputy.

Thomas Byrne says it is important that people get to have a say, no matter what side of the debate they are on.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil both say they will allow a vote of conscience on the issue.

Fianna Fáil TD Thomas Byrne outlined his views on the issue, saying a referendum has to happen.

"I am pro-life. I personally won’t be supporting, in a vote, a proposal to repeal the Eighth [Amendment]. However, I think a referendum has to happen," he said.

"I think the people deserve to have their say and I think we all need to respect the people’s points of view. I have my own point of view but I can see the logic in other people’s points of view and give them respect.

"I think if there’s any suggestion, and I can hear it coming in some quarters, that maybe people vote against a referendum, that’s not a runner."


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