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Social Democrats Co-Leader Catherine Murphy has said she is pleased with the information that Minister Harris provided during a briefing for opposition leaders on the forthcoming Referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment to the Constitution.

Deputy Murphy said that Minister Harris circulated a detailed summary of the Attorney General’s advice to Cabinet to those present at the briefing and that he also laid out a very specific timeline in relation to the process which will culminate in the holding of a referendum in late May 2018.

Speaking following the briefing Catherine Murphy said:

“The Minister provided us with specific dates regarding the process including the dates the draft Bill will be presented to Cabinet, the date that both 1st and 2nd stage of the Referendum Bill will be taken in the Dáil and the indicative time for the establishment of the Referendum Commission, subject to the passage of the Bill through the Oireachtas. The Minister also explained that the AG’s recommendation for the enabling clause is designed to give what he called ‘belt and braces’ protection to the Oireachtas’ right to legislate on this matter into the future. We in the Social Democrats support this approach in principle, subject to seeing the exact wording.”

“I was satisfied from the briefing that the Minister intends to progress this issue in an expedient manner and in a way that is as clear cut as possible. The briefing today was detailed and thorough and I am happy that Minister Harris and his officials have fully considered both the report from the Oireachtas Committee on the 8th and the need for a speedy timeline to deal with these matters – not least to accommodate the large volumes of younger people who wish to have their voice heard on this sensitive topic that directly affects their lives.”

30th January 2018


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