Government Minister Lucinda Creighton is willing to lose her job at cabinet as she leads a revolt of Fine Gael deputies against the proposed abortion legislation.
The European Affairs Minister is one of 10 government deputies prepared to vote against party leader Enda Kenny’s instructions as the bill heads for parliament.
The Irish Independent reports that the abortion rebellion could put a huge dent in Fine Gael’s parliamentary ranks but won’t affect the coalition government’s majority.
The report says Creighton is leading as many as 10 deputies against the bill after Prime Minister Kenny, who says he himself is anti-abortion, rejected major changes to the contentious legislation.
Kenny has already warned some deputies that they will not contest the next general election if they vote against Fine Gael on the bill.
Creighton went public on the issue again with a speech in the Irish parliament which the paper described as ‘strident’.
The report says her remarks and stance could ultimately see her split from the Fine Gael parliamentary part and lose her ministerial job.
Minister Creighton said “Fine Gael was a party which unashamedly defended the right to life and issued repeated statements to that effect over the years, including stridently in advance of the last general election.
“I do not want to give up on the Government’s work for economic recovery but I am making a decision on life and death”.
“All I can do . . . is consult my conscience, which is based on my sense of what is right and what is wrong. What else can I consult?”
The Minister’s request that the suicide clause be removed from the bill was rejected by Kenny.
He said: “This is not possible, and would, in my view, be counterproductive.
“If I, as a person who is opposed to abortion, thought for one moment that this bill would lead to a liberal abortion regime in Ireland, I would not be asking the House to enact it.”
The report states that Deputies Peter Mathews, Brian Walsh, Terence Flanagan and Billy Timmins have already said they will vote against the Government while others including Creighton, John Paul Phelan, John O’Mahony, James Bannon, Michelle Mulherin, Sean Conlan and Ray Butler are waiting to see if the bill can still be changed or clarified.
The final vote will be held ahead of the parliament’s recess later this month. The first vote on the bill will be held on Tuesday evening.