Mick Wallace The @guardian used to be a very good newspaper that played a vital role which amounted to a positive contribution t… https://t.co/StRA29TBAf
Mick Wallace And the lovers of democracy in the #europeanparliament refuse to acknowledge that there's been a coup in #Bolivia.… https://t.co/e9OFRaUUOt
Mick Wallace The EU has payed #Turkey over €6 Billion to cage migrants and prevent them from coming to Europe - so when Erdogan… https://t.co/aeuevmz8hU
Mick Wallace Excellent speech from Yvonne Farrell at the #YouthAssembly who pointed out that in dealing with the Climate Crisi… https://t.co/UEKYtZVVEF

jamesOn Tuesday November 8th, Mick questioned Minister for Health James Reilly on his plans to implement the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the A, B and C case committed to by the Government at the UN Human Rights Council hearing in Geneva on 6 October 2011, including exact dates for the establishment of the expert group and the conclusion of their work. Although a sensitive issue, Mick feels that a woman's right to dignity and self determination are paramount in an equal society. The Goverment have failed to deal with this issue since the outcome of the X case almost 20 years ago. Below is the exchange between Mick and the Minister as well as a supplementary question from Deputy Clare Daly. You can watch it here.

Parliamentary Question: To ask the Minister for Health if he will explain the reasons behind the refusal to accept six recommendations from European countries that Ireland should legislate for abortion; if he will explain in detail the timeframe for the expeditious implementation of the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the A, B and C cases committed to by the Government at the UN Human Rights Council hearing in Geneva on 6 October 2011; specifically if he will provide the date in November by which the expert group will be set up, the date by which the expert group will be expected to transmit proposals to him, and the date by which he will respond to these proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. James Reilly I assure the Deputy that the Government is committed to the implementation of the action plan on the ABC v. Ireland judgment. As the Deputy is aware, the Government submitted an action plan to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 16 June 2011, as required by the European Court of Human Rights. The action plan outlined the following commitments by the Irish State. Ireland is committed to ensuring the judgment in this case is implemented expeditiously. The Government will establish an expert group, drawing on appropriate medical and legal expertise with a view to making recommendations on how this matter should be properly addressed. It is intended that the expert group will be established by the end of November 2011. Following the recommendations from the expert group, proposals will be drafted and transmitted to the Government for approval and, by the end of 2011, an action report will be filed outlining the expert group’s detailed terms of reference, membership and meeting schedule. As stated in the action plan, the Government is committed to the establishment of an expert group on the ABC v Ireland judgment to make recommendations on how this matter should be properly addressed. My officials are in the process of finalising the work required to establish this body. The Government rejected all recommendations on this issue submitted to the State during the universal periodic review process in Geneva on 6 October, as it would be inappropriate for it to pre-empt the recommendations of the expert group at this stage. In the case of the recommendations made by Denmark and Slovenia, these were outside the scope of the judgment and not in line with Article 40.3.3o of the Constitution of Ireland. Mick Wallace As I am sure the Minister is well aware, almost 20 years have passed since the X case and we have watched Government after Government kick the can down the road and refuse to have the courage to deal with this issue. We are talking about a human rights problem which we have been content to export rather than deal with it head on, as we are afraid of what the public might think. We have been afraid to do the right thing. We compare Ireland to other countries in Europe, but 44 of the 47 countries in Europe are way ahead of us on this issue in respecting the right to health of the pregnant woman. Irish abortion law denies women the most fundamental right to live in dignity and to self-determination and the opportunity to exercise these rights without discrimination in that having an abortion is criminalised in almost all circumstances. Elsewhere in Europe the approach adopted is consistent with the standard of proportionality in key human rights which requires that laws and policies applied to regulate access to abortion services cannot excessively interfere with a woman’s rights to life, health, privacy, freedom from cruel and inhumane treatment and non-discrimination. The Government has been in office for nearly one year. I would have thought that the Minister would have considered this matter to be a top priority, one that needed to be dealt with quickly. Is he telling me that the expert group is still in the process of being set up? When it is set up, will he publish the names of its members, outline the reasons for their selection and the terms of reference? It would be interesting to have that information because it goes without saying the group which will be selected will have considerable influence on the final decision to be made. James Reilly The Government has many priorities. While this is a hugely important issue, the survival of the economy and the maintenance of a reasonable health service are but two priorities with which we are dealing on a daily basis. Notwithstanding this, we gave a commitment in the programme for Government that we would form a special advisory group and when that group is in place, the names of its members and its terms of reference will be made public. Clare Daly On what issue does the Minister need an expert? This is the reality for thousands of Irish women every year. On what issue does the Government need to deliberate? What expertise does it require? More than 20 years ago the people voted on the right to abortion, albeit in limited circumstances. Can the Government not simply enact legislation to deal with the reality for thousands of Irish women every year? What is the reason for the delay and why does the Government require expertise to deliberate on the issue further? James Reilly As the Deputy is well aware, this is a very sensitive and thorny issue for many people. It is also divisive. The judgment is clear and we have given a commitment to meet its terms. We will obtain the best advice available to us in the form of an expert group, the terms of reference of which will be published. The group will publish its report which will be available to everyone to examine and give us the best advice available. That is only right and proper. Clare Daly Is it not the case that the advice of the people is that they have voted on this matter twice already? In terms of the Supreme Court judgment and the previous ruling in the X case, the people have voted to allow abortion in Ireland, albeit in limited circumstances. However, the Government has not yet drafted the heads of a Bill to deal with the issue. James Reilly The Deputy is correct to say the Irish people have voted twice. The interpretation of this court case is a separate issue pertaining to how that is to be put into place. The matter is not as simple as she would like to paint it. Clare Daly Twenty years.

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