Sean Kenny, Labour TD for Dublin North East.
Lisa Powell writes;
I re-e-mailed my TDs re: legislation this morning, this was one response:
You might be aware that Labour TDs including myself, did not support Clare Daly’s billon the X case last night. As your TD, I want to explain why I voted No.
In order to succeed in getting legislation for the X case, I, as a legislator, have to work with the reality of the political games that are being played in order to get X case legislation passed into law.
Fine Gael, Labour’s coalition partners would not support Clare Daly’s bill. I believe that Labour Ministers suggested to them that they should support it. But they did not wish to do so – they want to wait to debate the Expert Group Report which has been published recently. This is because Fine Gael and Labour agreed on the Expert Group process a year ago.
Fine Gael now want to see that through. It is clear on reading the Expert Group
report that the Expert Group believes legislation for the X case and regulations for doctors, is the way forward on this matter.
Fine Gael are a very conservative political party. They do not really want legislation. Labour will have to force them to support legislation.
It is very, very difficult getting them to move on this – but it is working previously, for example, Enda Kenny has said he will not be rushed. But earlier this week he said he would move swiftly.
The really conservative Fine Gael TDs and Ministers are now speaking out in the media about their opposition. They are doing that because they know that Labour is influencing Fine Gael and that they will have to support legislation. They are trying to re-assure their anti-choice voters.
All of that going on in Fine Gael is down to Labour Party TDs and Ministers pushing Fine Gael on this.
As part of that, if Labour, their coalition partner, were to antagonise Fine Gael by supporting Clare Daly’s Bill and breaking with the Expert Group route, Fine Gael will not trust Labour and then there never will be any legislation because Fine Gael will not support it.
I also would like you to consider the way in which Dáil seats are divided up in this Dáil. Each seat in the Dáil is worth one vote.
Labour have 37 seats in the Dáil.
Fine Gael have 74 seats in the Dáil.
Fianna Fáil have 19 seats.
Sinn Féin have 14 seats.
Independents have 20 seats.
ULA have 4 seats.
The Ceann Comhairle has one vote – this vote is cast only in the event
of a tie.
If Fine Gael seats (ie, votes) are left out of the equation, there are not enough TDs who will support legislating for the X case. A number of the FF and Independent TDs are very pro-life – some will vote against legislating and others will simply not show up to vote at all.
Just 27 votes supported Clare Daly’s Bill last night. Even if all the Labour TDs had supported it, it still would have failed to pass.
In other words, for X case legislation to be passed without question in the Dáil, Fine Gael AND Labour are needed to support X case legislation when it comes down to a vote on in the Dáil because they have the most seats, and therefore, the most votes.
Fine Gael control Dáil Éirean and Labour supporting legislation alone will not get that legislation voted through.
Fine Gael are required.Over the next couple of weeks, there will be a debate on the Expert Group report. After that, the Government will decide what steps to take. I
am confident that there will be legislation on the X case and that it will happen within the next two or three months.
Sean Kenny TD
28th November is the full moon and there will be a lunar eclipse, it will also be one month from when Savita Halappanavar died in hospital in Galway.
That same day a bill to legislate for the X Case is tabled to be debated and discussed. Claire Daly as part of the ULA is bringing the bill forward and it will do what is needed.
Unfortunately despite it being a good bill and legally sound it is most likely it will be voted down by the government parties.
Who will not want to legislate someone else’s bill, who want to drawn out the process and will stall and then grudgingly create their own bill months later.
The Labour party does want to legislate as soon as possible but they are tied in coalition with the very conservative Fine Gael and even if there was a free vote in the Dáil the bill can not pass with out Fine Gael votes to support it.
So they are playing party politics with women’s lives.
Reporter Oonagh Murphy reported on the excerpts of the report from the Expert group set up to review the X Case ruling.
It seems that the expert group reports back that the options are to put in place guidelines, legislation or regulations.
Guidelines, which can be put in place quickly can be easily amended but they would have no legal force behind them and would not meet the recommendations of the EU court of human rights.
Legislation would meet the recommendations of the EU courts of human rights, but it will mean time spent drawing them up, time spent debating for it to be passed. Legislation will take more time and has a lack of flexibility in the future as medical advances are made.
Regulations in conjunction with legislation may offer flexibility but will have to be backed with legislation which will allow the regulations to be changed as needed.
It was also reported that the X Case only deals with the risk to the life of the woman rather then the risk to health and as a result cases like those of Savita may not be covered by anything which the government put in place.
Tuesday the 27th of November has been given for the publication of the report.