Iarfhlaith O’Neill joins 99 colleagues in statement urging a “NO” vote

Save the 8th has this afternoon welcomed what it says is a “very significant” intervention in the referendum campaign by former Chairman of the Referendum Commission, and former Judge of the High Court, Iarflaith O’Neill.

Mr. O’Neill is one of one hundred legal figures who this afternoon signed a statement affirming that a YES vote would “allow the life of the unborn to be ended for any reason up to 12 weeks and far beyond that on grounds that have led to abortion on demand in other jurisdictions”.

The statement went on to say that “what is being proposed is not abortion in exceptional cases but a wide-ranging right to abortion”.

Save the 8th’s Niamh UiBhriain described the intervention as “important, clarifying, and very significant”:

“Judge O’Neill is a widely respected figure who was chosen, because of his expertise, to head up the referendum commission in 2008. He is a former Judge of the High Court. When he says, along with 99 of his colleagues, that this bill introduces abortion on the same grounds as led to abortion on demand elsewhere, voters should listen – their words are important, clarifying, and very significant.

It is very clear to anybody who has read the Government’s bill that it introduces abortion up to 24 weeks, or six months, on the same grounds as Ground C in the UK. This “mental health” ground is what justifies abortion on demand in the UK. It will be what justifies abortion on demand here.

The Irish people are being asked to sanction, what is, in the opinion of 100 of the country’s most senior legal figures, a liberal abortion regime under which it would be almost impossible to declare an abortion illegal.

This will simply go too far for the Irish people. It is indisputably clear that under this legislation, it will be legal to perform an abortion late in pregnancy. That is not something the Irish electorate wants. While the media has been slow to inform the public about the contents of the abortion bill, we are confident that this will become clear over the next month, and that as it does, support for the YES side will continue to fall”.