Dáil debates

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Foreign Policy

11:40 am

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I propose to take Questions Nos. 100 and 142 together.

I thank the Deputy for raising this sensitive and important issue.

Recent changes to the abortion laws in Poland are clearly of great concern to many people in Poland and the EU more generally. Ireland has its own recent experience of these issues and we have seen major changes with regard to reproductive health rights in recent years, and they are very welcome. Our experience in Ireland in achieving broad consensus in this area is something we are proud of and always willing to engage with others on.

The Government engages regularly with our Polish and EU counterparts at ministerial level and official level, as well as with civil society and other actors. Ireland will continue to engage across a broad range of issues, including issues pertaining to the protection of women's sexual and reproductive health and rights and issues of gender equality.

It is worth noting that the Taoiseach has recently given a commitment in the House to raise with Poland's Government the issue of access to sexual and reproductive health services specifically with respect to Ukrainian women in Poland who may have been victims of sexual violence in the context of Russia's aggression and invasion of Ukraine. The Irish Embassy in Poland engages continually with Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on a wide range of issues. I believe that there are over 3 million Ukrainian refugees in Poland right now, many of whom are women and children, and this is obviously an issue about which there is concern. The way in which these issues are raised is important in terms of the response that we are likely to get.


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