200 Lawyers Say Government Proposal “Is Abortion On Demand”

200 lawyers from across Ireland issued a statement calling for a “No” vote, saying that the government proposal would introduce abortion on demand, and would remove all constitutional protect from the preborn child.

Signatories to the statement included Aindrias Ó Caoimh, Senior Counsel, and Former Judge of the High Court of Ireland and former Judge of the European Court of Justice; and Iarfhlaith O Neill, Senior Counsel, and Former Judge of the High Court of Ireland and Chairman of the Referendum Commission (Lisbon Treaty.)


In Article 40.3.3° of the Constitution of Ireland (“the Eighth Amendment”) the State “acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

The Eighth Amendment respects the right to life of mothers. As its wording makes clear, it protects the right to life of the unborn only to the extent that such protection is consistent with the right to life of the mother.

In the recent case of M –v- Minister for Justice and Equality, the Supreme Court has held that the rights of the unborn under the Constitution are limited to those rights which are acknowledged in the Eighth Amendment.

Accordingly, the repeal of the Eighth Amendment would entail the removal from the Constitution of the existing acknowledgment of the right to life of the unborn and the removal of constitutional protection for the unborn boy or girl in the womb.

If the Eighth Amendment is repealed, the Government has signalled its intention to place legislation before the Oireachtas. The proposed legislation would allow the life of the unborn to be ended for any reason up until twelve weeks, and far beyond that on grounds which have led to abortion on demand in other jurisdictions. In addition, such limitations on abortion as may be set in the legislation could be removed at any time without the consent of the People.

It is clear, therefore, that what is being proposed is not simply abortion in exceptional cases but a wide-ranging right to abortion.

Each person was, by definition, once unborn. As we mature, our capacity to assert and enjoy rights may increase over time. Likewise, our capacity may decrease due to serious illness, old age or other reason. At all stages, however, born and unborn, we remain the same human being with the same inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights. These human rights rest on the foundation-stone of the right to life. Life is the constant which makes the exercise of every other human right possible.

As lawyers drawn from every level of the profession, both currently in practice and those now working in other fields, we hope that, having considered what is at stake in the coming referendum and the far-reaching proposals of Government, our society will conclude that it would be profoundly unjust to withdraw the existing constitutional protections from the unborn child or to give Government the power that they seek to legislate in this area.


Aindrias Ó Caoimh, Senior Counsel
Former Judge of the High Court of Ireland and former Judge of the European Court of Justice

Ailill O’Reilly, Barrister

Ann Daly, Solicitor

Aoife Rooney, Solicitor

Berenice McKeever, Barrister

Brian Spieran, Senior Counsel

Carole M. Corbett, Barrister

Dr. Ciarán Creaven, Senior Counsel

Cora Sherlock, Solicitor

Darren Lehane, BCL, LLM, MCIArb, Barrister

Deirdre Kenny, Solicitor

Diarmuid Ó Catháin, Solicitor

Eamon Galligan, BA(Mod), M.R.U.P., Senior Counsel

Eileen King, Solicitor

Councillor Emmett O’Brien,Barrister

Evana Boyle, BCL, LLM, Solicitor

Fintan Lawlor, Solicitor

Geoffrey Sumner, Barrister

Professor Gerard F Whyte.
School of Law, Trinity College Dublin

Grace Gallagher, BA, LLB, BL, JD, LLM, Barrister

Hugh McGroddy, Solicitor

James Burke, Barrister

Joan M. Hynes, Barrister

John Smith, Barrister

Kate Cussen BCL MSc. Solicitor

Ken Smyth, Solicitor

Killian McMorrow, B.Comm., Dip.Int.Human Rights Law, Dip.Int.Human Rights and Criminal Procedure, Barrister

Liz McDermott, LLB Solicitor
One Day More

Máire Cassidy, Barrister

Marie Slattery, Barrister

Margaret O’Shea-Grewcock, Solicitor

Mary Faulkner, Former Dean of the School of Law, King’s Inns, Dublin

Micheál Ó Sé, Barrister

Neil Kelly, Barrister

Olivia Doyle, Solicitor

Patrick Keane, Senior Counsel

Paul McGettigan, Barrister

Roderick Tyrell, MSc. (Health Care,Ethics & Law) Solicitor

Seán Davin, Barrister

Siobhán Daly, Solicitor

Terry O’Driscoll, Barrister

Úna Ní Chatháin, Barrister

Virginia Harrington, Solicitor

Desmond Stark, Senior Counsel

Rachel Macauley, Solicitor

Seán Corrigan, Barrister

Emmet H. Gallagher BA LLB LLM JD

Peter D. Jones, Solicitor

Aindrias Ó Caoimh, Senior Counsel
Former Judge of the High Court of Ireland and former Judge of the European Court of Justice

Ann Wright, BCL, In-house Legal Counsel

Beata Kozłowska BA (Hons) , MSc, DPSI, DLSP

Brendan Guildea, Barrister

Byron Wade, Barrister

Caroline Leonard, Solicitor

Ciara C. Davin, Barrister
Register Nurse

Cormac Ó Ceallaigh, Solicitor

David Sheehan, Solicitor

Denis Linehan, Solicitor

Diarmuid Ó Shea, Solicitor

Eamon Marray, B.A. LL.B., Barrister

Elaine Gallagher, Solicitor

Emile Daly, Barrister

Feargal P. Kavanagh, Senior Counsel

Francis Rowan, Solicitor

George A. Brady, Senior Counsel

Professor Emeritus Gerard Casey, BA (Cork) MA, PhD (Notre Dame) LLB. LLM.
Associate Professor in the School of Philosophy at University College Dublin and Former member of the governing body of University College, Dublin.

Graham Quinn, LLB, Barrister

Iarfhlaith O Neill, Senior Counsel
Former Judge of the High Court of Ireland and Former Chairman of the Referendum Commission (Lisbon Treaty)

James Charity, Barrister

Joe Varley, Solicitor

John T. Gibbons, BE, C.Eng., FIEI, FCI Arb, Senior Counsel

Kate O’Toole, LLB. Barrister

Kieran Cummins, Solicitor

Laura Collins, Barrister

Louise Wright, Solicitor

Malachy Steenson, LLB., LLM, Solicitor

Marita Dockery, MA LLM Solicitor

Maria Pittock, Solicitor

Maurice Osbourne, Barrister

Michael Ryan, Barrister

Niall Doyle, Solicitor

Patrick Cunningham, Solicitor

Patrick Treacy, Senior Counsel

Pól Ó Murchú, Solicitor

Senator Ronan Mullen, Barrister

Seán D. Rafter, Barrister

Suzanne Boylan, Barrister

Theresa Lowe, Barrister
Former Television and Radio Presenter with Radio Teilifís Éireann

Una Cassidy, Barrister

William Binchy, Barrister
Former Regius Professor of Laws, Trinity College, Dublin and Member of the Irish Human Rights Commission

Paul Hegarty, BCL LLB LLM Barrister

Triona Walsh, Solicitor

Áine Grogan, Barrister

Benedict Ó Floinn, M.A. (Oxon) Barrister
Author of Practice and Procedure in the Superior Courts

Brian Jennings, Solicitor

Caitríona Heffernan, BA (Hons) LLB

Caroline Simons, BCL., LLM, MA, Solicitor

Clíona Ní Chatháin, Solicitor

Cormac O’Neill, Barrister

David Burke, BA (Oxon) MA (London) Solicitor

Dervla Mulcahy, Solicitor

Donal Ryan, BCL, LL.M., Barrister

Edward O’Leary, Solicitor

Elizabeth Burke, BCL, Solicitor

Eoin Murnaghan, Barrister

Felix McTiernan, Solicitor

Frank Martin, Barrister

Gerard N. Murphy, Barrister

Gerry Murphy, Senior Counsel, Former Ombudsman for Credit Institutions

Helen Burke, Solicitor

Imelda Gallagher, BA. LLB, MA, Barrister

James Lawless, Solicitor

John I Cannon, Solicitor, Coroner

Joseph Cuddigan, Solicitor

Kathleen T. O’Mahony,Barrister

Kieran Morris, Barrister

Leonie Macauley, Barrister

Lorcan E. Price, Barrister

Maria Boyce, Solicitor

Margaret Rowley, Solicitor

Maria Steen, Barrister

Mel Christle, Senior Counsel

Michael Pattwell, Solicitor, Former Judge of the District Court of Ireland

Nicola Daveron, Solicitor

Patrick J. Barrett, Barrister

Paul Brady, BA, MA, LLM, DPhil, Barrister

Rebecca Mac Cana, Barrister

Sandra Mahon, Solicitor

Shane Murphy, Senior Counsel

Sylvia Green, Solicitor

Thomas Brabazon, Solicitor

Venetia Taylor, LL.B., LL.M., Barrister

William McEvoy, Solicitor

Eugene P. Manley, Barrister

Stephen Richard Donnelly,Barrister

Donal Smyth, Solicitor

Gabriel Reynolds, Barrister

Michelle Hayes, LLB BSc, Solicitor

Paul McLoughlin, Barrister

Stephen O’Connor, Barrister

Alan Daveron, Solicitor

Anthony Moore, Barrister

Dr Bénédicte Sage-Fuller,Maîtrise en Droit, Certificat de Droit Européen, LL.M, Ph.D.
School of Law, UCC

Brian M. McMahon, Solicitor

Carmel Gallagher B.A., LL.B., LL.M., Barrister

Cathy Maguire, BCL LLM, Barrister

Dr. Conor Hanly, B.A., LL.B., LL.M. (N.U.I.), LL.M., J.S.D. (Yale)
Lecturer at NUI, Galway

Daithí Mac Carthaigh, Barrister

Declan Lawlor, Solicitor

Des Quinn, Barrister

Donnacha Hennessy, Solicitor

Eilís Mulroy, Solicitor

Elizabeth Maguire, MA, LL.B., M.Litt., Barrister

Erwan Mill-Arden, Senior Counsel

Femi Daniyan, Barrister

Gail Walsh, Barrister

Gerardine Costello, Solicitor

Gordon Duffy, Barrister

Hilary O’Doherty, BA (Hons) Solicitor

Ita Marnell, Barrister

James Mahon, Solicitor

John Reid, BCL Dip. Eur. L KCHS, Solicitor

Dr. Joseph Richardson, Ph.D., M.B.A (Healthcare), Dip. EmpL., M.I.C.S., Barrister

Ken Fogarty, Senior Counsel

Kieron Wood, Barrister

Liam Dockery, BA., Barrister

Louis Dockery, BA DLS RTMA Dip. Ecomm., Solicitor

Marian O’Riordan, Solicitor

Margaret Cordial, MSc (Int. Human Rights Law NUIG) Barrister, Solicitor
Formerly with the UN High Commission for Human Rights and Advisory Counsel with the Attorney-General’s Office. Author of Circuit Court Rules : Practice and Procedure

Martin Mulroy, Solicitor

Micheál Munnelly, Barrister

Mortimer Kelleher, Solicitor

Oliver Costello, Barrister

Patrick J. Feeney, Solicitor

Paul Byrne, Solicitor

Roderick Maguire, LL.B., LL.M.(Lond), M.A (Lond), Barrister

Séamus Ó Tuathail, Abhcoide Sínsear

Sheila O’Riordan, Barrister

Tabitha Wood, BCL. Barrister

Dr. Thomas Finnegan, PhD

Vincent Toher, Solicitor

William F. O’Brien, Barrister

Gabriel A. Toolan, BA LLM Solicitor

Stephen Dodd, Barrister

Press Links

Irish Independent: 100 legal professionals sign statement opposing abortion law reform

RTE Morning Ireland: Lawyers debate both sides
of the 8th amendment referendum

Irish Examiner: 100 legal professionals sign statement opposing abortion law reform

Irish Times: Anti-abortion lawyers issue statement against repeal