Five of County Galway’s nine TDs have shown a “disregard for the lives of women in their constituency”, by voting against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.
This is the view of Galway Pro-Choice, speaking following the vote on the second stage of the Bill in Dáil Éireann this week. Labour Galway West TD Derek Nolan has also expressed “disappointment” at his colleagues’ stance.
“Given that Galway has such a recent and sad history when it comes to protecting women during pregnancy, I am deeply disappointed that so many Galway representatives would vote against this,” Dep Nolan said.
The vote passed by a majority of 138 votes to 24. Of that 24 were three of Galway West’s five TDs - Fine Gael’s Brian Walsh, Fianna Fáil’s Éamon Ó Cuiv, and Independent Noel Grealish - and two of the four Galway East TDs - Fianna Fáil’s Michael Kitt and former Labour, now Independent, Colm Keaveney.
The Galway TDs who supported the Bill were Fine Gael’s Seán Kyne, Paul Connaughton, and Ciaran Cannon, and Labour’s Derek Nolan. The Bill now proceeds to committee stage.
Galway Pro-Choice has condemned the five TDs who opposed the Bill, claiming their objections to the Bill’s suicide clause is mistaken.
“Two referenda and countless opinion polls show the vast majority of Irish people support the inclusion of the suicide clause,” a spokesperson for the group said. “As consultant psychiatrist Dr Peadar O’Grady stated: ‘International research shows an increased risk of suicide for pregnant women and adolescents where access to abortion services is restricted’.”
Orlaith Reidy of Galway Pro-Choice said while the TDs may opposed the suicide clause they do not “oppose the features of the Bill which will genuinely endanger women”.
“They seem unconcerned that women who have an illegal abortion could face a 14 year prison sentence as a result,” she said. “The potentially devastating consequences for women afraid to seek the medical care they require will be a direct result of this criminalisation.”
Galway Pro-Choice will hold a protest outside Dep Keaveney’s office in Tuam this Saturday at 2.30pm due to his current position on the legislation.
A number of those who oppose the current Bill base their opposition on concerns that it may lead to a more liberal abortion regime in the State. However Dep Derek Nolan has criticised such views.
“Talk of ‘floodgates opening’ is politically reckless and amounts to scare-mongering, pure and simple,” he said. “Ireland will still have the most restrictive regime in Europe.”
Regarding the suicide clause he said: “In the extremely rare but real situations where a woman is suicidal, such as in the X Case, a woman’s life deserves protection. Again, this is a Constitutional right, upheld twice by the people in referenda