Referendum on eighth amendment likely to be held in May

Kevin Doran the Bishop of Elphin said the same justification for abortion could be used to justify killing frail elderly people

Last December, a report by a specially convened Oireachtas committee found that Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution, known as the Eighth Amendment and passed in 1983, was not fit for objective and should be repealed.

Mr Varadkar, who says he will campaign to liberalise the law, has said while ministers are able to take different positions on the contentious matter, the Cabinet will adopt a collective position.

The prime minister of Ireland said Saturday he will campaign for a liberalization of the country's strict abortion laws in an upcoming referendum on the divisive issue.

The eighth amendment was added to the republic's constitution following a referendum in 1983.

The Taoiseach and his ministers are expected to collectively agree on the issues mentioned above.

Ministers decide on Monday how best to go about a referendum vote on the subject that will ask the Irish people if the constitution's eighth amendment should be abolished.

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It recommended abortion be available up to 12 weeks of pregnancy without a woman having to explain her decision, and that the procedure should be allowed if the life or health of the woman was at risk.

Terminations are now only allowed in the Republic of Ireland when the life of the mother is at risk.

Outlining his position on the contentious issue, the minister of state at the Department of Finance expressed concern about removing the article without knowledge of how the law might change as a outcome.

The abortion referendum is likely to spark an emotive, hard and fierce debate in Ireland, where it remains a divisive issue.

The Taoiseach told BBC Radio over the weekend he will campaign to liberalize abortion.

"I am convinced that if we concede any ground on abortion, the very same arguments which are now being used to justify abortion will be used to justify ending the lives of frail, elderly people and people with significant disability", Doran said.

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