Latest: Taoiseach 'hiding truth about abortion proposal', says Love Both campaign

Update 2.36pm: The Love Both campaign has today accused Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of keeping the public in the dark about what repeal of the Eighth Amendment would mean.

This weekend, the Taoiseach claimed that if the referendum passed, it "does not mean there will be no restrictions".

Commenting on the Taoiseach’s remarks, Dr Ruth Cullen of Love Both said: “It doesn’t matter how many times the Taoiseach says his proposal is restrictive, it won’t change what the proposal provides for which is abortion on demand and nothing else.

“Either the Taoiseach himself is not clear about what the proposal contains, which is hard to believe, or else he is simply not prepared to come clean with the Irish people about how extreme the proposal is and how it provides for unrestricted abortion in the first three months of pregnancy and even at later stages too on very vague ‘health’ grounds.

“The Taoiseach certainly misrepresented this reality over the weekend. Given the seriousness of the issue, it's deplorable that he would hide from voters the full facts about the referendum proposal.”

Update 11.52pm: Bishop of Ferns Denis Brennan has today called for a No vote in the upcoming referendum on the 8th Amendment.

In a pastoral message issued this morning, the bishop said that voters are "the unborn baby’s last line of defence".

"Removing the Eighth Amendment and replacing it with laws that allow for unrestricted abortion up to twelve weeks will strip the voiceless of their most fundamental right and make all talk of any other human rights irrelevant for them," the bishop stated.

"The child with a life-limiting condition will have even less protection, and will have no rights at all, at any stage, during pregnancy. In the words of Love is for Life - 'sincerity and good intentions do not make wrong things right'.

"It is being said that Irish women are having terminations anyway, but surely we can do more for women experiencing an unwanted pregnancy than legalising abortion? Let us offer a more positive alternative such as help and support."

"To remove the Eighth Amendment will mean a very different Ireland. It will mean an Ireland, where access to abortion will become much more widespread, and freely available, and one in which the right to life, for the twelve-week-old unborn child, will be removed.

"In such circumstances, we will clearly have forgotten that the unborn child is one of us, a member of the human family."

Update 10.48am: 8th Amendment 'a healthcare issue', say Social Democrats

The Social Democrats have today given their backing the campaign to repeal the 8th Amendment, saying that they believe it is a healthcare issue.

The party is launching its 'Yes for Repeal' campaign this morning in Dublin, Cork and Galway today.

Opinion polls over the weekend show support for the Yes side in the abortion referendum has dropped slightly, but still holds the majority vote with five weeks to go until voting day on May 25.

Catherine Murphy, co-leader of the Social Democrats, said that women should be able to seek the treatment they need in this country.

"Women travelling [for abortions] has been a dominant feature for over 30 years now," she said.

"I think there is a realisation in this country, and we're seeing it from the opinion polls, that we do have a responsibility to provide healthcare in our own jurisdiction, and that's part of the reason that we're advocating very strongly for a Yes vote."

Catherine Murphy

Reacting to day's poll, The Together For Yes campaign insisted that every single vote will count on May 25.

Orla O’Connor, Campaign Co-Director said: "There is still a very long way to go in this referendum campaign, and we are taking nothing for granted.

"This is a crucial and historic debate which proposes to remove the harmful 8th amendment from the Constitution, and we understand that people rightly want to consider all the facts and evidence from doctors and medical professionals to help them reach their decision.

"In the meantime, we are encouraging everyone to check the register and ensure they are registered to vote because every vote matters on polling day."

Update 10.48am: Poll shows slight fall in support for repealing 8th Amendment

A new opinion poll out today shows support for repealing the 8th amendment has fallen slightly in the past month.

The latest poll appears in today's Sunday Times.

The third Sunday Times Behaviour & Attitudes poll reflects a drop of two points to 47% for those who support repeal - with the No Vote up two points to 29% - and combined undecided voters on 24%.

The Poll was conducted from April 5-17 in face-to-face interviews with 928 voters.

Sunday Times political editor Stephen O'Brien said that when you strip out the undecided voters that gives a lead for the yes of 62% to 38%.

He added that the fact that there has been little chipping away at the Yes lead is a worrying sign for the No side at this stage in the campaign, but there are still five weeks to go.

- Digital desk


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