Kerry South TD (Member of Parliament) Jackie Healy -Rae has changed his tune and added his voice to those of the three other independent TDs, whose votes the government has counted on for support in their demand for an abortion referendum.
Healy-Rae told The Irish Times in August that he had no interest in pushing for an abortion referendum, saying, “I’ll be putting no pressure on the Government because there is no pressure on me.” However, he recently told The Irish Times, “I’m calling for a referendum, definitely. I never said that we shouldn’t have a referendum. There seemed to be very little pressure on me, but somehow or other that has changed a good bit in the last six months. I’m hearing from people all over the country on this.”
Joining independent TDs Mildred Fox, Thomas Gildea and Harry Blaney, Healy-Rae said that he hoped a referendum would reverse the Supreme Court decision allowing abortion where a woman was threatening suicide. As Blaney asserted, “Anyone can come along and say that they are suicidal. You could have more suicides after an abortion rather than before it.” Fox agreed, pointing out, “Women who have had abortions are in a much higher risk group for suicide and women who are pregnant are lower.” As we go to press, the TDs are currently negotiating with the Government on packages for their constituencies in return for their vote. They are scheduled to meet with Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern next month. ♦