Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Council tells Irish Government it must legislate for abortion

The [Irish] Government has been told it must take firm action to legislate for abortion.
It follows last year’s ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, and the Government has been told its actions will be closely supervised until it legislates.

The state has said it will set up an expert group to make recommendations, the third since the Supreme Court ruled on the matter almost two decades ago following the X case.
Ministers representing the 47 countries of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe, which administers the court, last week reviewed this move by the Government.

The council "underlined the importance of putting in place substantive measures to execute the judgment".

It also invited the Irish authorities to keep it "informed in relation to the steps taken under the timetable set out in the action plan".

The state will be under the court’s enhanced supervision process, which is applied to judgments raising the most serious problems identified by the court and the committee of ministers.

Mark Kelly, the head of the Irish Council of Civil Liberties, welcomed the move. "The mere creation of an ‘expert group’ to look into the matter is not a substantive measure to implement this legally-binding judgment by Europe’s top court. We welcome this clear signal that the committee of ministers will take a firm line on the need for abortion law reform in Ireland."

Niall Behan, head of the Irish Family Planning Association, welcomed what he described as a very strong message to the Government that it can no longer ignore the imperative to legislate for abortion in certain circumstances.

Source: Ann Cahill, Irish Examiner, 20 September 2011

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