News & Media

Only Labour will deliver a referendum to repeal the 8th

18 February 2016

Statement by Alex White

The Labour Party today launched its plan to hold a referendum to repeal the 8th amendment.

Minister for Communications, Alex White, Minister for Equality, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin,  and Senator Ivana Bacik outlined how the party would deliver a referendum, and campaign strongly to repeal the 8th amendment, if returned to Government.

Speaking at the launch in Labour’s Campaign HQ this afternoon, Minister for Communications, Alex White, said: “It’s high time that this generation was given the right to choose – through a referendum – whether the 8th amendment should remain in our Constitution.

“No other major political party or grouping will deliver this referendum. Fianna Fáil doesn’t believe the people should be allowed to decide. Fine Gael can’t decide if the people should be allowed to decide. Sinn Féin claims to support a referendum, but will refuse to participate in government unless Gerry Adams is Taoiseach.

“So, there is only one choice for women and men who care passionately about this issue to recognise Labour as the one party offering an unequivocal – and realistic – pledge to deliver a referendum.”

Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin added: “My views and the views of the Labour Party have been very clear on this issue for some time. The constitution is no place to deal with such a complex and sensitive issue such as abortion.

“I believe there is a growing consensus on this matter and that we must ensure that we have a referendum to repeal the 8th amendment. 

“The Labour Party has always led on the issues of social change and if returned to government we will deliver a referendum on this issue and replace the archaic 8th amendment with robust and pragmatic legislation such as we propose.”

Senator Ivana Bacik stated: “The Labour Party is the party of social change. It was Labour which ensured that marriage equality was included in the programme for Government, and we delivered on our promise. It was Labour that fought for and won the divorce referendum in 1995.

“Labour has a track record of standing up for women in Ireland; and if we are returned to Government again in 2016, it will be Labour which will stand up for women’s rights by ensuring that a referendum is called on the repeal of the 8th amendment.”