ICCL Welcomes Abortion Reform Pledge by New Government

Press Release, for immediate release

05 May 2016 


The ICCL has welcomed the proposed Citizen’s Assembly on the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, as reported to be included in the draft blueprint for Government. The ICCL looks forward to a meaningful consultation with participation by members of the public, politicians, civil society and other interested stakeholders, in particular women.


Commenting on reports regarding the Draft Programme for Government, Mark Kelly, Executive Director of the ICCL said: “It is heartening to see the incoming Government recommitting to a Citizens Assembly to make recommendations on Ireland’s restrictive and outdated abortion regime. The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution places the existence of a foetus on a par with the right to life of a woman and violates Ireland's international human rights obligations. It is past time for it to be consigned to history.


This is particularly timely as one of the first jobs for the new government is to appear before the UN Human Rights Council next week to explain how Ireland is living up to its international obligations, including in relation to access to abortion.


The previous Convention on the Constitution met in 2012-2013 and produced recommendations that led to the 2015 referendum on marriage equality, however only two recommendations from this convention were followed through. Not only should the proposed citizens Assembly be participative, inclusive and meaningful process, it is crucial that the structure contains a concrete timeline for implementation of recommendations”, he added.





Note for Editors:

The ICCL considers that any future Convention should be participative, meaningful and inclusive:


The new Government should foster national ownership of the Constitutional Convention from the outset by setting it up through a process that is open, participative, inclusive and transparent. Sufficient resources should be made available to facilitate widespread and meaningful consultation with, education of, and participation by members of the public, civil society and other interested stakeholders, in particular women.


An open and transparent appointments process should ensure that membership of the Convention is balanced, representative and facilitates meaningful input by civil society organisations and people in vulnerable groups.


A range of civic education measures should be undertaken to inform members of the public about the role, scope and potential outcome of the new Constitutional Convention. National and local media, civil society organisations, community networks and information technology should be utilised to ensure the widest possible access and participation by the public is achieved. Widespread and comprehensive consultation should be undertaken with members of the public, the Diaspora and civil society organisations to facilitate meaningful engagement with the process and the issues for discussion. Facilitating meaningful input by civil society organisations, particularly on issues of direct concern to their members, must be a priority for the Constitutional Convention throughout the process.


Knowledge and experience, which would benefit the Convention in its deliberations, should be drawn from as wide a pool of experts as possible including from the legal, academic, political and community sectors. Members of the public should be provided with an opportunity to consider the recommendations of the Convention and to provide feedback.




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