Amnesty International responds to Fianna Fáil leader’s comments on Eighth Amendment

Amnesty International today welcomed the statement by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin in support of the repeal of the Eighth Amendment and of the provision of access to abortion upon request in early pregnancy. Deputy Martin, speaking in a Dáil debate on the report of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment, indicated his personal support for many of the recommendations made by the committee.

“In making this statement, Micheál Martin has shown both tremendous political leadership, but also very great respect for the human rights and the health of women and girls here in Ireland. He has spoken of his careful consideration of the evidence presented at the Oireachtas committee and of how, when the facts become clearer, we must be prepared to shift our positions and act accordingly. This is how politics should work, and he is to be commended for his clarity and leadership.

“In his statement, and in setting out his own thinking in this way, he has contributed enormously to a public debate on an issue which was for decades blighted by division and vitriol. He has demonstrated that, as we have known for some time now, Ireland and its people are done with an approach more focused on shutting down than opening up such an important conversation.

His personal contribution and leadership, and that of many other members of the Oireachtas in the past two days sets a high standard for the public campaign that will soon follow. It is critically important that everyone who intends to participate in this vital discussion adopt the same evidence based, compassionate and respectful approach that has been demonstrated in the Oireachtas of late. We hope all members of the Oireachtas will similarly place women’s health and human rights at the core of this important debate,” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.