Tuesday, 4 December 2018
Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018: Report Stage (Resumed)
I was on my feet when the debate was adjourned last week. Some of the remarks I made last week caused some upset. I apologise for that. It certainly was not my intention. Some questions have arisen from the amendment before the House. For example, people have asked why we are not permitting ultrasound. This amendment would make ultrasound mandatory. A woman would not be allowed to give her permission or her consent. That is really at the crux of this. Ultrasound is a diagnostic tool that should be available for a doctor when deciding what is best. A woman should be able to consent to the use of any diagnostic tool. She should be able to give her opinion. She should not be bypassed.
I remind the Deputy that he has spoken. He has taken up the two-minute, seven-minute and two-minute slots available to him on these amendments. Are there any Deputies who have not availed of their seven-minute or two-minute slots? If not, I will put the amendment.
Gerry Adams, Maria Bailey, Mick Barry, John Brady, John Brassil, Declan Breathnach, Colm Brophy, Tommy Broughan, James Browne, Richard Bruton, Pat Buckley, Joan Burton, Catherine Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Shane Cassells, Lisa Chambers, Joan Collins, Catherine Connolly, Ruth Coppinger, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, David Cullinane, Clare Daly, Pearse Doherty, Stephen Donnelly, Andrew Doyle, Bernard Durkan, Dessie Ellis, Alan Farrell, Martin Ferris, Frances Fitzgerald, Charles Flanagan, Kathleen Funchion, Simon Harris, Seán Haughey, Séamus Healy, Martin Heydon, Brendan Howlin, Heather Humphreys, Paul Kehoe, Alan Kelly, Martin Kenny, Seán Kyne, John Lahart, Marc MacSharry, Josepha Madigan, Micheál Martin, Finian McGrath, Joe McHugh, Tony McLoughlin, Denise Mitchell, Imelda Munster, Margaret Murphy O'Mahony, Catherine Murphy, Eoghan Murphy, Eugene Murphy, Paul Murphy, Denis Naughten, Tom Neville, Darragh O'Brien, Jonathan O'Brien, Kate O'Connell, Fergus O'Dowd, Louise O'Reilly, Frank O'Rourke, Jan O'Sullivan, Maureen O'Sullivan, Eoin Ó Broin, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Thomas Pringle, Maurice Quinlivan, Anne Rabbitte, Brendan Ryan, Eamon Ryan, Eamon Scanlon, Seán Sherlock, Bríd Smith, Brian Stanley, David Stanton, Robert Troy, Leo Varadkar, Mick Wallace.
Amendments Nos. 42 to 43b, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together. Amendments Nos. 43 to 43b, inclusive, are physical alternatives to amendment No. 42. Amendment No. 43a is a physical alternative to Amendment No. 43.
I move amendment No. 42:
In page 14, to delete lines 31 to 36, and in page 15, to delete lines 1 to 29 and substitute the following:“22.The Executive shall, for the purpose of monitoring and evaluation, keep records of terminations of pregnancy carried out in accordance with sections 11, 12, 13and 14and publish an annual statistical report with respect to the incidence of and trends in relation to abortion.”.
I will be as brief as I can. We are proposing the deletion of the current notification system as outlined in the Bill and replacing it with a system that would work to give us some useful information in ascertaining whether the introduction of safe abortion in Ireland had had the same impact as in other countries. The way the Bill has been drafted is based on the notification provisions in the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act. This is overly cumbersome and inadequate to develop the public health data a new reproductive healthcare service requires. The provisions, including the obligation to notify the Minister for Health each time a termination is carried out, as well as providing the Medical Council registration number, have no public health rationale and only serve to perpetuate abortion stigma. The collection of data such as county of residence and so on is not appropriate. We would instead prefer to see useful statistics that would help us to improve reproductive healthcare for women and girls. That is the purpose of the amendment.
The purpose of the amendment is to ensure we would collect meaningful data in order that we could ensure the service was responding to need. I do not believe the data to be collected will inform us in a way that we will be able to spot where there are problems, geographical or otherwise, or be in a position to make necessary adjustments to the service to ensure women throughout the State have access to it.
I will not take seven minutes as we discussed this issue a good deal on Committee Stage. I know that we are all motivated by the same idea of ensuring we will have adequate data in order that the legislation can work appropriately.
Deputy Clare Daly asked why we would we take what was already in the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act and replicate it in this legislation. I have considered the matter carefully. Given that this is a new service, that there is such significant public interest in it and that we are seeing the Irish College of General Practitioners emergency general meeting and the like, it is prudent to leave those requirements in the legislation. However, being honest, I envisage that when we get to the point where we will review the legislation in three years' time, some of the detail will no longer be required. I do not think we should have forever and a day reports being made to the Minister for Health of the day on individual matters.
In Britain those responsible collect data related to county. I used this information a good deal during the referendum campaign. We were able to quote how many women from each county in Ireland had travelled to the United Kingdom to access a termination. Having such information will enable me and my successors as Minister to ensure there is geographic equity. Moreover, if there is not, I will be able to direct the HSE to ensure that if there are parts of the country in which there is a particular problem in accessing the service, that it is provided there. It is absolutely the intention of the HSE to publish such data on an annual basis. I have already given that commitment in the House and will lay the relevant report before the House. In addition, the HSE will be answerable to the committees of the Houses.
I am satisfied that the minimal amount of data necessary will be collected to fulfil the function and ensure data protection obligations are met. The HSE collects statistical data that can be published and will be publicly available in the way similar reports are published on all other aspects of the health system.
I do not believe it is necessary for a provision to be included in the Bill in order for this to be done. It is appropriate that we keep the current provisions for the beginning of this service. We are committing to reviewing the legislation in three years, and I would be very happy for the issue to be reviewed then. It is important, at the early stages, that we have that information so that we can very closely monitor it as policymakers. Ultimately, as Minister for Health I am responsible for policy in this area, so being directly involved is appropriate on this occasion.
The debate on abortion has been ongoing for a long number of years, and in that time a strong case has been made that information should be made available to everyone in society so that better decisions can be made. I have always agreed with that, even though many on the pro-life side may have sought a reduction in information on access to abortion. I have always believed that information is key when people are making decisions. Information is not a burden and it is not a threat to anybody. This amendment does not seek to reduce access to information about abortion.
Some people will say that the type of information collected will be used in a particular way in an effort to stigmatise or create difficulties for people who seek to access abortion. I point to the position in Britain, where a four-page document is collected by the doctors involved in the provision of abortion. That information is then used for research and policy development and helps people understand exactly what is happening within the system. Elected representatives can then develop legislation to address some of the issues found in that research. In the Committee on the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution we found out that the main reasons for abortion are socio-economic. Information on people's socio-economic situation allows us to understand exactly who the people most affected by abortion are. If that information is not collected, it becomes much harder to focus resources necessary to alleviate some of those socio-economic problems.
In New York State a number of years ago, there were more abortions carried out on African-Americans than there were live births in a particular year. There are variations in the rate of abortion among certain sectors of society. If the information is deleted or ignored, we are blinded to particular experiences, and as a result it is far more difficult to address those particular experiences. We should not be afraid of collecting information on this particular service. The more information we have the more likely it is that we will be able to design better policy in the future, and the more likely it is that we will be able to review the delivery of these services with an educated mind.
Amendments Nos. 43a and 43b seek to provide for what we understand to be the most important elements of data gathering and notification with respect to termination of pregnancies. This is totally in line with data recording as it exists in the UK at present and with the requirements sought by most pro-abortion organisations, such as the Guttmacher Institute. We understand the view that the public interest in research and data must be weighed against the public interest in confidentiality of patient information. This amendment respects that balance completely.
In the United Kingdom, registered medical practitioners are legally required to notify the chief medical officer of every abortion performed. The UK department of health receives these notifications by way of form HSA4, to which Deputy Tóibín referred, and undertakes statistical processing and analysis on an ongoing basis. A statistical bulletin is published around May each year containing a table of information derived from those notifications. We also know from the UK that the recording of abortions, under ground E of the 1967 Act, which provides for instances where there is a substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical disabilities and abnormalities as to be seriously disabled, is seriously under-reported. We are not making that up. During 2013, it was brought to the attention of the UK department of health that the number of ground E notifications was lower than the number reported to the congenital anomaly register. A matching exercise was carried out for notifications for 2011, 2012 and 2013 data. Results from this matching process suggest that a UK department of health notification was made for 54% of the records. This meant there was potentially an under-count presented in the ground E notification table when it was published. In response to this, the UK department of health asked the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, RCOG, to consider the possible reasons for the under-reporting of abortions on the grounds of foetal abnormality and to make recommendations for improvements. Results from the matching exercise and the RCOG recommendations show that between 2011 and 2013 there was a 17.8% increase in submissions of abortion notifications for foetuses with Down's syndrome. Those are interesting figures.
This clearly points to the need to be as prescriptive as possible in terms of the data that are collected so that we can avoid under-reporting and prevent skewed statistics from being place in the public domain. This is very important. The facts and figures are available to our neighbours across the water.
Gabhaim buíochas leis an Leas-Cheann Comhairle as ucht an deis seo a thabhairt dom labhairt ar leasú Uimh 43a. I welcome the opportunity to speak on this amendment on the recording and notification of termination of pregnancy. In general terms, it will assist in advancing the creation of an objective, verifiable knowledge base that can then feed into the development of evidence based public health policy. At the level of basic ethical principles, we also believe that at the very least we must give the life and death of the unborn child statistical significance in the context that it has already been decided not to afford the unborn child any constitutional protection or significance. For the record, and because it now seems that we have to be very clear about such things, we have no other motivation in bringing this amendment forward.
Recently, the broader issue of how information or data are used or presented has figured prominently in many areas of our political life. The potential impacts were considered to be so serious that we saw the establishment by the Office of the Taoiseach of an interdepartmental group focusing on the security of Ireland's electoral process and disinformation. One of the primary concerns identified by that group's report, published in October, related to the potential effect that the widespread use of social media can have in accentuating any concerted programme of disinformation. In light of that, we can say with some certainty that the more controversial the subject, the more clearly established is the requirement for the collation of comprehensive, detailed, accessible and fact-based data. This point has been acknowledged by pro-abortion groups. In one particular case study report, one such group looked at meaningful attempts to evaluate the impact of a new abortion law.
Where health data collection systems are inadequate, and where the private sector provides the majority of legal abortions but is not required to report them, the incidence of legal procedures cannot be accurately reported. It ended by noting that public health advocates, international donors and researchers around the world should continue to strive to improve the completeness of reporting of legal abortions, the recording and accurate classification of abortion-related maternal deaths and the attainment of robust estimates of overall maternal mortality, as well as of both legal and safe terminations and unsafe terminations.
To speak more locally, my colleague Deputy Tóibín, said the following during the Committee Stage debate on this particular amendment:
The reason we are collecting so much data is that this is a very serious issue. This is an exceptional situation in historical terms. Up to this, we have only allowed for the ending of life in cases where the life of the mother was under threat. ... This is a radical departure.
The point also was made on Committee Stage that this amendment is very much in line with the data categories required under the existing UK law around the recording of terminations. It also was noted that this represents international best practice. Surely we should have systems in place to ensure this here in Ireland.
In his reply to a similar amendment put forward by another Deputy on the other side of the debate, the Minister said at the committee that if one looks at the website of the UK Department for Health and Social Care, as he did during the referendum campaign, one sees the amount of data that is collected and sent to that Department. While the Minister did not suggest we should mirror what they do, he did accept they collect a considerable amount of data and stated quite clearly that he had no difficulty with this. The Minister also indicated that if the question was simply around the modality of how the information is gathered and put before the Oireachtas or into the public domain, he would be happy to consider it further.
I raise these points now merely to point out that while the committee had issues on how the information should be gathered, there was no fundamental disagreement on the necessity of recording the various statistical data sets. It also was argued in the committee that it was somewhat unnecessary or unhelpful to be as prescriptive about the kind of information that ought to be collected as is this amendment. On this point, Deputy Donnelly asked if the data that are to be collected are usually provided for in primary legislation or in follow-up regulations. He also made the fair but incomplete point that it would be onerous for those tasked with the drafting of public policy if they had to amend the primary legislation in a few years to allow for the collection of certain information. This is a highly incomplete point because had the Deputy read this amendment carefully, he would have seen that provision is made for "such other information as may be prescribed".
We all know that the annual statistics on abortions recorded in England and Wales are based on detailed abortion notification forms submitted by clinics and hospitals to the chief medical officer at the Department of Health and Social Care. That Department then monitors the forms to ensure full compliance with the provisions of the Abortion Act 1967. The UK departmental guidance note for completing the abortion forms, which is intended to help doctors and clinical staff, also makes clear that certifying doctors are expected to have enough evidence of the woman's circumstances to justify forming a good-faith opinion that the ground for the termination exists. Since we are dealing here with an assessment whose outcome involves the potential death of one human being, is it not only appropriate that some consideration is given to the circumstances offered as justification for the abortion in the first place? If there is evidence that a certifying doctor has not formed an opinion in good faith, then those performing the termination are not protected by the Act and may have committed a criminal offence by terminating the pregnancy.
I object really strongly to the provisions of section 22(2)(f), as proposed in amendment No. 43a. Are we really going to look for not just the age and marital status but the ethnicity of the people who receive services this country has democratically decided should be available to women to allow them to address and control their fertility?
We had a very detailed debate in this country about the issue and our citizens voted in favour of these changes. What is the inclusion of "ethnicity" about? Is this a measure to find out if immigrants in this country avail of services concerning their health as women? Is that what it is about? Why do this amendment's proponents want to know the service users' ethnicity? Is that a code word to ask if these are people of colour or ethnically Irish and like the rest of us? Would the answer to that mean these issues should somehow be approached in a different way? Is it implied that people who are of a different ethnicity somehow have less regard, feeling or care where these issues are concerned then do ethnically white Irish people? The Deputies should seriously consider withdrawing this amendment because it is needlessly offensive. To be perfectly honest, it owes more to the language of South Africa prior to the ending of apartheid-----
-----than it does to Ireland in this day and age. I listened really carefully for all of last week. I did not speak at all in order to listen very carefully to the comments made by the 20 or so Deputies who have consistently sought to oppose the legislation, as their democratic right. I do not know how they thought it out, but this kind of language strikes me as being from the school of the deep south of the United States, where in various states there is a very active and continuous attempt to frustrate any woman trying to avail of services concerning pregnancy, either within her own state or by crossing state lines.
I also want to ask about the tone of this amendment. This is really designed to extract information from women that will shame them. We all know people who have unfortunately suffered multiple miscarriages and in some cases have never been able to give birth to a live baby. I know a lot of people like that. Ironically, most of the people I meet nowadays in Ireland with difficulties around pregnancy have trouble becoming pregnant and having a baby they very much want. We need to cop on to where Ireland is at the moment. Members know the statistics. Most women giving birth in Ireland are in their 30s or older, and most of the babies are very much wanted. I do not see why one must attempt to set up a structure to shame all women.
The language of this amendment is straight out of an Ireland of a long time ago. I assume this amendment was written by some clever lawyer, rather than the Deputies here. We all use lawyers to help us with the drafting of amendments. Are these drafters the successors of the people who locked women in Magdalen laundries and put their children in orphanages and industrial schools? It took a very long time before this House even addressed those issues. Are we really using that same language tonight? Why? Why do we feel compelled to use it? This is a difficult, personal and private issue. Do not attempt to use this Bill as a mechanism to shame women and to shame and frighten doctors.
We have just got several multiple-page amendments, which seem to have a parallel purpose, namely, to frighten and shame doctors who seek to provide these services. One needs to have regard to what the people voted for. This particular Bill amendment will not do anyone in Ireland any good.
Listening to the debate last week, I never once heard proposals from any of the Deputies to provide for serious high-quality information to young people on how to avoid becoming pregnant and how to positively manage their fertility in order that, hopefully, they would never need to have recourse to termination. Neither did I hear whether the Deputies wanted, for instance, to have education for young men in order that they would have a sense of their responsibility in supporting their partners in planning in such a way that any pregnancy that occurred would be wanted. That is what women all over the world have done since the right to control fertility via birth control information was introduced more than 100 years ago. We are celebrating 100 years of women having the vote. That period was also the time when the biggest conversations began about birth control and information being available to women. I plead with the Deputies involved that they might be better off simply withdrawing this amendment because it certainly is out of kilter with the respect shown by both sides during the debate and with the way the people of Ireland voted.
There is a value in collecting information for statistical purposes to provide better healthcare and I will support amendment No. 42 for that reason.
I have not contributed extensively to this debate. Everyone has a right to his or her opinion but this is difficult to take on board. This amendment, particularly paragraph (f) that has been alluded to, looks like an attempt to rerun the referendum. I am trying to consider a situation where, say, a woman would go to a doctor and for some reason would have to go within days to another doctor who is not her GP and would be put through an inquisition. Part of the reason we decided on 12 weeks at the Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution was because women were buying medication over the Internet, self-medicating and putting themselves at risk. That is exactly what will happen, if this amendment and if the one that is associated with it, amendment No. 43b, which would criminalise doctors for not collecting the information that has been specified in amendment No. 43, were carried.
This is not about public health policy. This is about making women feel guilty. It is about making women feel ashamed. That is not part of good health policy. This is objectionable. It has been tabled for all the wrong reasons.
All amendment No. 43a does is require a doctor who carries out an abortion to provide information to the relevant authorities, which is on a par with what doctors in the UK have to report. As it stands, the Bill requires far less information to be gathered than is gathered in the UK. Why is this? Surely it is in the interests of the health service and the new abortion system to maximise the amount of information that will be compiled to allow us to monitor trends.
All the information will be gathered in strict confidence and anonymously. We gather all kinds of detailed information on all kinds of procedures, from routine procedures to more serious ones. This amendment would simply gather details on where the abortion took place, the point at which the termination took place and various other details. We gather this kind of information for every other procedure carried out by GPs and in hospitals. Why would anyone object to doing likewise for abortions?
All information published on foot of this would only be published in the same way as the Department of Health and the HSE statistics in a format that only gives national or regional pictures of the information and which in no way identifies any particular person or her particular case.
Surely even supporters of the Bill want the maximum information to be gathered. It would allow improvement over time. If we do not seek to gather this information, we will have no way to monitor trends or to see how the Bill is operating in practice.
The Bill provides for review of its operation by the Minister after three years. How is such a review to be carried out properly without all possible information on how the Bill acts in practice and being able to ascertain who is availing of the services?
I do not believe that it is adequate for the Minister to provide for gathering this information by regulation. The information requirement needs to be set clearly in stone in the Bill at this Stage. For this reason, I will support amendment No. 43a.
It is important that these abortions should be recorded. I cannot see why not. If other countries are doing it, I cannot see why there is a big hang-up here about doing it.
It is important even for events such as where a woman may have a second or third abortion. If that was happening, it should surely set alarm bells ringing somewhere to see if there was abuse or some reason a woman would have to go through this sorrowful event more than once in her lifetime.
It is serious and deserves the consideration of Members. I ask that we do the same as they do in other countries where these procedures are carried out.
I was not going to speak but I have just been reading the amendment. I have concerns, in particular, as previous speakers outlined, regarding the inclusion of ethnicity.
I wish to point out that if this amendment is passed, it refers to section 14, which is early pregnancy. We put in the 12-week limit for two reasons, namely, to deal with rape and incest and to deal with the issue of abortion pills. Imagine being a rape victim. If that was not traumatic enough, before one could get a termination one would have to answer a series of questions on one's previous pregnancies, including live births, ectopic pregnancies, any previous terminations and spontaneous miscarriages. One's ethnicity and marital status would have to be recorded. It is archaic. It is racist.
I wish that we did not even have to debate this tonight. It is a poor reflection on this Chamber that there are individuals within it who would expect doctors to ask rape victims these questions and who, if the doctors do not do so, would jail the doctors.
The collection of data will be vital. It seems likely that abortion will be introduced in Ireland in the coming weeks. Efforts have been made to get the Bill through the Dáil by hook or by crook. Last week, I spoke on the large numbers of women in the United Kingdom who undergo as many as eight abortions. I and many experts are highly suspicious that there is a strong possibility that many of those women are being abused. However, no records are kept to help to identify that and ease their plight. We must ensure that such practices do not happen in this country.
The recording of ethnicity is proposed because in other jurisdictions women of vulnerable minority groups are more likely to be targeted by abortion providers who want to make money from them. Only through the collection of these data can we identify whether certain socio-economic or ethnic groups are at particular risk and should be provided with additional supports in terms of pregnancy prevention. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortion services in the United States, was a known eugenicist who targeted African-American and vulnerable communities. Many in this House will say that this would never happen here, but we cannot be certain of that. That is why I have repeatedly proposed that the wording of the Bill be amended to offer protection to such women. Amendments Nos. 43, 43a and 43b present an opportunity in this regard. They have been put forward to protect women, rather than to disadvantage them in any way. I ask that the Minister acknowledge that the amendments have been tabled in a genuine effort to protect women.
There is nothing wrong with collecting data. Obviously, the data would form part of confidential medical records, but at least we would know if a large number of women are having eight abortions, as is the case in the United Kingdom, and would be able to protect such women from abuse.
The presenters of amendments Nos. 43, 43a and 43b make it seem that the Bill makes no provision for the collection of data, but it does. Amendment No. 42 put forward by Deputy Clare Daly and others provides for the collection of data in a different manner.
I would like to be shown some respect while speaking. I specifically ask Deputy Danny Healy-Rae to desist from using his phone in the Chamber. I would not do so and I do not think any other Deputy would either. It shows a lack of respect.
I specifically make that request of Deputy Danny Healy-Rae.
The proposers of amendments Nos. 43, 43a and 43b are trying to portray the Bill as making no provision for the collection of data. They repeatedly refer to the importance and benefit of the collection of data. Of course, the collection of data is important and of benefit and provision for it is made in the Bill. Furthermore, amendment No. 42 allows for the collection of data on a different level.
Amendments Nos. 43, 43a and 43b are malicious and vindictive. It is very interesting to note that they are signed by nine men and one woman. How are those men not ashamed of themselves for demanding the personal data of women they do not even know? How can they hold their heads up and not feel the shame that this must bring on their gender? The amendments are filled with malice.
The reference to women having eight abortions has been made at least eight times even though such cases are completely off the scale in terms of commonality or dealing with the problem that the majority will face.
He has consistently argued against abortion on socio-economic grounds. There is no mention of the collection of data on socio-economic issues in amendments Nos. 43, 43a or 43b even though we know that such issues affect proportionately more women than certain other issues when it comes to making a choice on termination. These amendments are the height of hypocrisy. They are malicious and vindictive and should be withdrawn.
As usual, amendments Nos. 43, 43a and 43b are being presented as a good thing when, in fact, they are more about shame and the surveillance of women. The crux of their genesis was revealed in some of the recent contributions which indicate that alarm bells should go off once a woman has had two or three abortions. To develop a point made by Deputy Burton, where would those alarm bells go off? Would there be a red light in a convent or local church? Is this some sort of policing of promiscuity? Is it about policing pregnancy? Is that the intention of the proposers of these amendments? The amendments hark back to views held in the past.
Reference has again been made to many women in the UK having eight terminations. It has been made clear in this Chamber, at committee and through the Citizens' Assembly that no woman ever gets up in the morning and decides to have a termination as a logical way to proceed with her day. Such decisions are normally made by people in the most difficult of circumstances. The people voted on the provision of a 12-week window within which women would be allowed to make their own decisions without being told what they should do with their bodies by the promiscuity police, pregnancy police or any other police.
These amendments are not what they purport to be. As Deputy Bríd Smith stated, the collection of data is provided for in the legislation. These amendments are about power, control over women, shame and surveillance. Those who have put their names to the amendments should be ashamed in front of the women in their lives.
I agree with the remarks of Deputies Burton and O'Connell on amendments Nos. 43, 43a and 43b. When the amendments arose on Committee Stage, there were repeated references to the United States and the United Kingdom as if we did not have a Constitution and the right to make our own laws and put our own protections in place. Such protections have already been put in place. I stated at the time that I did not believe that the wording used in the amendments had been formulated by a Member of the House. It is my belief that they originate outside the House and have been cleverly worded to give rise to suspicions and to allow a sense of control, strength and power in a particular direction. As a modern society, we should have moved past that. There was and is no basis for it. It is insulting to the House for the amendments to be tabled again in the clear knowledge that they borrow from other jurisdictions. We have the right to make our own laws and are so doing and have done for many years. It is to be hoped that we will do so for many years to come.
Like many other speakers, I believe there is no place in the legislation for amendments which specifically target a large sector of society, give the impression that its members are not equal citizens and create the basis on which they can be treated as second-class citizens. That is a poor recognition of the role played by Irish women in public and private life and throughout every sphere of society.
It is terribly sad to think that, at this time in our development - the 21st-century - that people see fit to bring forward such appalling and restrictive amendments.
We are half an hour into the debate and a range of Deputies are literally calling people names and attributing false motivations in respect of particular amendments. Last week, a Deputy was driven to tears by the level of aggression directed at her. Is it possible that we can have a debate without introducing this fractiousness all the time? Members talk about others seeking to shame. There is an effort on the part of some Deputies to shame those on the other side of the debate in order to close them down and censor them. There is nothing wrong with Deputies asking questions and engaging in honest debate. It is unbelievable that other Deputies are seeking to censor and create uniformity of thought and that groupthink exists in this Chamber. It is important that those with opposing views have an opportunity to put them respectfully without others seeking to delete them with aggression and calling them names.
People have been ratcheting up the debate in the past half an hour, calling this proposal an inquisition. It is a four-page document. It refers to the type of information collected in many other western European democracies. In the 35 years of debate on the eighth amendment, I have never heard people state that the British system is built to shame women. All we are looking for is information that is collected in other countries, such as Britain and New Zealand. There is a higher incidence of abortion among certain ethnicities and among those with disabilities or living in poverty. If one is from a poor background, one is far more likely to be aborted. If one is disabled, one is far more likely to be aborted.
If one collects information purely for policy development and not to identify individual women in any way whatsoever, one is simply adding to the available information so policymakers can become involved in developing solutions to some of the socio-economic problems people experience. There is absolutely no malicious intent. Our proposal is simply to bring a democratic norm in other European countries into our law. The only motivation for people not to want to collect this information is a desire to hide what is happening in the country in the future.
I, too, am quite sad about the way we are being treated here. We are entitled to research and table amendments for the right reasons and for compassionate reasons. Just because people want to hide and cover up, they behave as they do. They talk about England all the time. The attacks by Deputy O'Connell and others, including Deputy Bríd Smith, are an effort on their part to get the headlines and see who can be the most vitriolic about us and demonise us as if we were backward people. We get this all the time.
As for the ethnicity reference, it is in the UK legislation on abortion on foot of a recommendation from the UK equality authority in 2001. We are always talking about the United Kingdom and saying we have to send our people there but when it suits us, we do not want to have what they have in their legislation. The data are just for records, nothing else. We are as compassionate as anyone else. Nobody here has a monopoly on compassion. By God, they do not. That is one thing sure and certain. What we propose is the monitoring of statistics related to abortion and the abortion rate among minorities. Do the Deputies objecting feel there is a problem with the UK abortion law, which they told us was so liberal and which should have been made available to people here? They have a problem with the UK equality legislation, the research arm of International Planned Parenthood Federation and the Guttmacher Institute. That is what the Deputies are saying. The simple amendments we have brought forward were tabled respectfully. We ask for a respectful debate. I welcome the Ceann Comhairle back to the Chamber in order that we might have a respectful debate. The Deputies should stop demonising us as if we were evil. The staff in Amárach Research have outlined, quite clearly, many of the issues that arise. Hundreds among the 1,000 interviewed have said that they want these things as well. We are not being emotive. We are not delaying the legislation either. I resent the remark made today by the Taoiseach that we are filibustering. We are not. If one checks the record, one will see that most of the time was taken up by the other side on the first night. Tonight, indeed, we are not speaking for our full time but we are entitled to table, move and debate amendments without the vitriolic attacks of the Deputies who want to demonise us. They are vying for headlines, asking who could be the most wicked.
The referendum is over. We are going to have widespread abortion provision in this State from next year. To be honest, I am not interested in the sideshow arguments that have been taking place here over amendments that are not going to pass and rows that have long been settled. What I am interested in is considering the Bill before us. The collection of information is critical in developing health policy, for sure. It is absolutely the case that data such as those on county of origin can be useful but they do not have to be provided for in primary legislation. They can be dealt with in guidelines. What is problematic is requiring the collection of information about doctors, their Medical Council number and so on. It is precisely problematic in the context of where we have come from in this State and some of the difficulties that exist.
I agree with the Minister that in three years or so we probably will not need these provisions. If one follows that logic, however, the problem is that by putting in these provisions now, one is actually tying the hands of doctors, creating a climate of fear, perpetuating abortion stigma and making it more difficult to provide health care. Rather than helping to gather information to determine whether our health policies are working and whether we are ensuring reproductive help has improved and fewer people need to travel, it is making the situation more precarious and forcing more women to continue to travel. It is regrettable that the Minister is saying we need to wait three years to get what may be a better Bill. We can provide for the collection of information by means of guidelines; we do not need restrictive conditions. The Minister should seriously examine the amendment we have put forward because it genuinely improves the Bill.
I have listened to the debate in recent days and I have spoken twice. I believe in the necessity of keeping data and ensuring that they are compiled because they may help people in the long term. I have heard Members talking about different nationalities. There are those in parts of this country who do not have the same social and economic opportunities as others. We need to compile data, as we do so in all aspects of life, so that they might help the women of this country in the long term.
I do not know what Deputies are hoping to hide or what they fear from the gathering of the data. There are important data asked for in the amendment, including the address at which the termination took place, the age and marital status of the pregnant woman and the country she is from. Also sought is the length of the pregnancy at the date on which the termination of pregnancy took place. That is important. The amendment would require data on whether the pregnancy was singleton or multiple, the date and the method of foeticide, if used, and where the termination of pregnancy was a selective termination, the original number of foetuses and the number to which they were reduced. Where a termination of pregnancy is carried out under section 12, the amendment would seek data on the condition affecting the foetus and the method of and grounds for the diagnosis of that condition. Data would be compiled on whether a live birth followed the termination of pregnancy, and, if so, the care given to the baby and its outcome. This reference in paragraph (m) is vital. I appeal to every Member to examine it because there is nothing wrong with it.
There is everything right about demanding that the baby is properly looked after. We have asked for this before, it is part of this amendment and I am asking for it again because every baby who is alive deserves every medical intervention to ensure they stay alive after birth. The wording of the amendment is "if the death of the woman occurred as a result of the termination of pregnancy, the date and cause of death". These are all very important and laudable things to ask for. I will take no rubbish from anyone directing it at us because those Deputies are wrong, and when people are wrong, they are never right.
As I said, all we are looking for is for information to be collected that is collected in many other countries. We were long enough shouting about all the other countries and the great abortion laws they have. Now we seem to be running away from them. What are we scared of? What are we trying to cover up? I have mentioned women having eight abortions. I am not one bit ashamed to do so because I am protecting women by doing so. Right across the world, where there are multiple abortions, there are many horrific reasons for them. The woman could be abused in such a situation and this needs to be highlighted and recorded. They need to be protected.
The insults thrown at us from across the floor are astonishing, to say the least. I fully support anyone giving their views and they are well entitled to do so, but I am talking about the insults they throw across at us. We have our views, which may be different to theirs. Their actions are undemocratic, but that is the way they feel. Last week one Deputy across the floor insulted, in my view, thousands and thousands of women across the world, one of whom lives in Ireland, by stating that survivors of abortions were simply a fairy story. One lady decided she had had enough of listening to that Deputy and recorded her views about what happened to her. She lives in Ireland and she gave her own story. She is a survivor of a failed abortion and she was highly insulted by the Deputy's comments that she was part of a fairy story. She is not part of a fairy story. She is a human being who lives in this Irish Republic. We should not be ashamed to discuss these issues as they come before us. This is the sad situation in which we in this Dáil have left ourselves. Deputies are trying to put fear into us and are feeding the media with the wrong stories, but we will keep speaking here because this is totally wrong. I believe we should record all data to protect women.
I must state again that all we are looking for is a par with what doctors in the UK must report. This information is needed in the interests of the health service and the new abortion system. All information would be strictly confidential. Such information is recorded by GPs in hospitals for every other procedure, so why would anyone object to doing likewise for abortion? All information would only be published in the same way as all Department of Health and HSE statistics. I repeat that the Bill provides for the Minister for Health to review its operation after three years.
I will be very brief. I have always been of the belief that all types of data, information and records are very important, in particular when it comes to anything to do with medical care or healthcare. I would have thought that as much record keeping as possible is in the best interests of the person involved, in this case the mother and the situation in which she finds herself.
I, too, must say I was very much taken aback by the Taoiseach's statement today. I certainly cannot blame the Ceann Comhairle because he cannot be held responsible for what comes out of someone else's mouth. However, the Taoiseach should have retracted the statement he made today on the record of the Dáil, quite simply because it was factually incorrect. I am not blaming the Minister for it. Perhaps he does not even know what happened-----
-----but the Taoiseach accused us in the Rural Independent Group of filibustering. The Minister would even have to admit himself at this stage that there is no such thing as any wastage of time by this group. For anyone on the other side to say there is is extremely unfair, and for the Taoiseach to have put that on the record of the Dáil today was inherently wrong.
I was contacted today by many doctors. I am sorry that I cannot recollect the precise word used, but one Deputy on my right-hand side earlier said of the doctors who walked out at the weekend that it was a fake protest. That is what she was trying to say. The doctors, nurses and midwives who have what I would call serious conscientious objections are entitled to their viewpoints. They are professional people working in healthcare. If they have concerns, my goodness, they are perfectly entitled to meet and, as in any meeting, if they have a disagreement and if there is a walkout or a protest, they are entitled to that. My God, we live in a democracy. We live in a-----
Yes. We are supposed to be living in a place where people have free speech and can protest if they want to do so. That is the whole idea of democracy. For some Deputy to stand up here and go accusing doctors of letting on to be something they are not is outrageous and a slur on our medical profession. The medical profession has difficulty in dealing with this issue and will have further difficulty in dealing with it. I spoke to many medical people over the weekend who are extremely concerned about what will happen in January. As Minister for Health, Deputy Harris should know first-hand all the other issues there are. He continuously says here that we cannot talk in the context that everything else should be right before we go doing this. I am not even saying that to him; what I am saying is that the medical profession has it well flagged to senior people in the HSE that this will cause problems in January that they cannot even foresee or quantify at this stage. The Minister himself knows this is the truth but is not admitting it. I would like if he did.
I will repeat on the record that the Taoiseach should withdraw the nasty things he said today, which were factually incorrect and untrue. To prove my point, I could talk for another three minutes if I wanted to do so - I am entitled to do so - but I will not, just as I did not speak for my full allocation of time last week. So tell that to the Taoiseach and tell him to stick it.
-----but that this language, in the context of the debate and the discussion we had in Ireland, is deeply inappropriate. It is an attempt to shame and devalue women. What is it the Deputies want to know? The amendment is not in order in terms of any Bill structure I have seen. What happens to the doctor who fails to get the correct number of miscarriages from a woman who has had multiple miscarriages?
Instead of the doctor's count of six miscarriages, what if she actually had seven? What are we talking about? The doctor will then potentially end up entering into a Kafkaesque nightmare of being technically in breach of the law. The amendment refers to ectopic pregnancies. Any doctor talking to a woman who is pregnant will go through her medical history in a respectful way - but numbers, dates, times? Do the Deputies want to know how much blood the woman lost when she had each miscarriage?
As to whether or not the amendment is in order, it would have been assessed in the same way as every other amendment, and the people involved in this process would have determined that it was in order. I am sorry if that offends the Deputy but-----
I think this is a disgrace. We have not taken the other amendments out of context but these are being pulled out of context with a deliberate agenda. As my colleague said last week, stop second guessing what is here. We are genuinely concerned for women in this country.
We want to ensure we have the best possible practice. While we might hold a different view - we are entitled to hold a legitimate different view - in respect of what we deem to be healthcare but these amendments were put forward in good faith. It is disgusting to see that they are being twisted and taken out of context. I want to put that on the record before I begin.
Data recording in the context of amendment No. 43a is not seen as another box-ticking exercise. It is seen as being fundamental to the integrity of the operation of the Act.
It was also suggested on Committee Stage by Deputy Coppinger that comprehensive data relating to the practice of abortion should not be recorded because we do not collect similar kinds of data for the extraction of wisdom teeth. I have the transcript of that debate with me. While I am sure that the Deputy was not being facetious, it highlights again how we simply cannot adopt an approach whereby we place abortions, the ending of the life of the foetus, into the same category as some minor or relatively inconsequential procedure.
We are talking here about an intervention where the sole outcome is the ending of at least one human life. The Minister will also note that the amendment refers to the recording of data related to foeticide. This is in line with existing requirements in the UK. Notification must be made there of the method used, specifically if the foeticide was surgical or medical, and depending on the method used.
I thank Deputies for their contributions. I have heard many people reference crisis pregnancies and multiple pregnancies. I really hope those Deputies will support me and other Deputies when we bring forward legislation to address things like free contraception in 2019 and when other Deputies in Opposition parties are pushing for better sex education in our schools. I really hope this concern for helping women to not find themselves in crisis and to educate our young girls to have the tools they need to avoid crisis pregnancy will result in support being forthcoming.
-----will support the introduction of free contraception, when we bring it before the House, with the same gusto with which they have tonight highlighted the issue and challenge of crisis pregnancy. Here is the way I have approached this Bill. I approached it by doing exactly what I told the people I was going to do. The draft legislation published in March outlined the information we would require to be collected if the people voted "Yes". Deputy Bríd Smith is right. We would get the impression from some people tonight that this Bill does not endeavour to collect any information. Of course it does.
Some people believe it is too much information. Deputy Clare Daly has made that point. She would like to do it in a different way. I respect that view. Other people would like much more information to be collected. I believe that this Bill endeavours to collect the minimal amount of information required to make sure we can properly monitor the rolling out of these new services in our health service and make informed decisions as policymakers. If we removed the requirement on me to have that information, we would also be removing the requirement on me to make a presentation to the Dáil by way of report each and every year.
It is important to point out that amendment No. 43b would place a criminal sanction on a doctor for not complying with this information. Some Deputies will be very concerned later about the issue of conscientious objection-----
Gerry Adams, Mick Barry, John Brady, John Brassil, Declan Breathnach, Colm Brophy, Tommy Broughan, James Browne, Richard Bruton, Pat Buckley, Joan Burton, Mary Butler, Catherine Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Pat Casey, Lisa Chambers, Joan Collins, Catherine Connolly, Ruth Coppinger, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, John Curran, Clare Daly, Pearse Doherty, Stephen Donnelly, Timmy Dooley, Andrew Doyle, Bernard Durkan, Dessie Ellis, Damien English, Alan Farrell, Martin Ferris, Frances Fitzgerald, Kathleen Funchion, Pat Gallagher, Simon Harris, Seán Haughey, Séamus Healy, Martin Heydon, Brendan Howlin, Heather Humphreys, Paul Kehoe, Billy Kelleher, Alan Kelly, Martin Kenny, Seán Kyne, John Lahart, Marc MacSharry, Josepha Madigan, Finian McGrath, Michael McGrath, John McGuinness, Joe McHugh, Tony McLoughlin, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Denise Mitchell, Aindrias Moynihan, Imelda Munster, Margaret Murphy O'Mahony, Catherine Murphy, Eoghan Murphy, Denis Naughten, Tom Neville, Darragh O'Brien, Jonathan O'Brien, Jim O'Callaghan, Kate O'Connell, Fergus O'Dowd, Fiona O'Loughlin, Louise O'Reilly, Frank O'Rourke, Jan O'Sullivan, Maureen O'Sullivan, Eoin Ó Broin, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Éamon Ó Cuív, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Thomas Pringle, Maurice Quinlivan, Brendan Ryan, Eamon Ryan, Eamon Scanlon, Seán Sherlock, Bríd Smith, Brian Stanley, David Stanton, Robert Troy, Mick Wallace.
I move amendment No. 43a:
In page 15, line 16, to delete “out.” and substitute the following:“out;
(e) the address at which the termination of pregnancy was carried out;
(f) the age, marital status, ethnicity, gravidity and parity (including the numbers of any previous pregnancies resulting in live births, stillbirths over 24 weeks, spontaneous miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies and previous terminations of pregnancy) of the pregnant woman in respect of whom the termination of pregnancy was carried out;
(g) the length of the pregnancy at the date on which the termination of pregnancy was carried out;
(h) whether the pregnancy was singleton or multiple (specifying how many);
(i) the date and the method of foeticide, if used;
(j) the dates, methods and medical agents used to effect termination of pregnancy;
(k) where the termination of pregnancy was a selective termination, the original number of foetuses and the number to which they were reduced;
(l) where a termination of pregnancy has been carried out under section 12, the condition affecting the foetus and the method of and grounds for the diagnosis of that condition;
(m) whether a live birth followed the termination of pregnancy, and, if so, the care given to the baby and its outcome;
(n) if the death of the woman occurred as a result of the termination of pregnancy, the date and cause of death;
(o) such other information as may be prescribed.”.
Gerry Adams, Mick Barry, John Brady, John Brassil, Declan Breathnach, Colm Brophy, Tommy Broughan, James Browne, Richard Bruton, Pat Buckley, Joan Burton, Mary Butler, Catherine Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Pat Casey, Lisa Chambers, Joan Collins, Catherine Connolly, Ruth Coppinger, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, John Curran, Pearse Doherty, Stephen Donnelly, Timmy Dooley, Andrew Doyle, Bernard Durkan, Dessie Ellis, Damien English, Martin Ferris, Frances Fitzgerald, Kathleen Funchion, Simon Harris, Seán Haughey, Séamus Healy, Martin Heydon, Brendan Howlin, Heather Humphreys, Paul Kehoe, Billy Kelleher, Alan Kelly, Martin Kenny, Seán Kyne, John Lahart, Marc MacSharry, Josepha Madigan, Micheál Martin, Finian McGrath, Michael McGrath, John McGuinness, Joe McHugh, Tony McLoughlin, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Denise Mitchell, Aindrias Moynihan, Imelda Munster, Margaret Murphy O'Mahony, Catherine Murphy, Eoghan Murphy, Tom Neville, Darragh O'Brien, Jonathan O'Brien, Jim O'Callaghan, Kate O'Connell, Fergus O'Dowd, Fiona O'Loughlin, Louise O'Reilly, Frank O'Rourke, Jan O'Sullivan, Maureen O'Sullivan, Eoin Ó Broin, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Éamon Ó Cuív, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Thomas Pringle, Maurice Quinlivan, Brendan Ryan, Eamon Ryan, Seán Sherlock, Bríd Smith, Brian Stanley, David Stanton, Robert Troy.
I move amendment No. 43b:
In page 15, between lines 29 and 30, to insert the following:“(7) A medical practitioner who wilfully or recklessly contravenes subsection (1) of this section shall be guilty of an offence.
(8) A person who is guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable--(a) on summary conviction to a class A fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both,
(b) on conviction on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or both.”.
Gerry Adams, Mick Barry, John Brady, John Brassil, Declan Breathnach, Colm Brophy, Tommy Broughan, James Browne, Richard Bruton, Pat Buckley, Joan Burton, Mary Butler, Catherine Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Pat Casey, Lisa Chambers, Joan Collins, Catherine Connolly, Ruth Coppinger, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, John Curran, Pearse Doherty, Stephen Donnelly, Timmy Dooley, Andrew Doyle, Bernard Durkan, Dessie Ellis, Damien English, Martin Ferris, Frances Fitzgerald, Michael Fitzmaurice, Kathleen Funchion, Simon Harris, Seán Haughey, Séamus Healy, Martin Heydon, Brendan Howlin, Heather Humphreys, Paul Kehoe, Billy Kelleher, Alan Kelly, Martin Kenny, Seán Kyne, John Lahart, Marc MacSharry, Josepha Madigan, Micheál Martin, Finian McGrath, Michael McGrath, John McGuinness, Joe McHugh, Tony McLoughlin, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Denise Mitchell, Aindrias Moynihan, Imelda Munster, Margaret Murphy O'Mahony, Catherine Murphy, Eoghan Murphy, Eugene Murphy, Denis Naughten, Tom Neville, Darragh O'Brien, Jonathan O'Brien, Jim O'Callaghan, Kate O'Connell, Fergus O'Dowd, Fiona O'Loughlin, Louise O'Reilly, Frank O'Rourke, Jan O'Sullivan, Maureen O'Sullivan, Eoin Ó Broin, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Éamon Ó Cuív, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Thomas Pringle, Maurice Quinlivan, Brendan Ryan, Eamon Ryan, Eamon Scanlon, Seán Sherlock, Bríd Smith, Brian Stanley, David Stanton, Robert Troy, Leo Varadkar.
I move amendment No. 44:
In page 15, between lines 29 and 30, to insert the following:
"Provision of foetal ultrasound imaging and auscultation of foetal heart tone
23.(1) At least 24 hours before the carrying out of a termination of pregnancy the relevant medical practitioner or a qualified person assisting the relevant medical practitioner
shall perform ultrasound imaging of the foetus and auscultation of foetal heart tone.
(2) The active ultrasound image referred to in subsection (1)must be of a quality consistent with standard medical practice, shall contain the dimensions of the foetus, and shall accurately portray the presence of external members and internal organs of
the foetus, if present or viewable.
(3) The auscultation of foetal heart tone referred to in subsection (1)must be of a quality consistent with standard medical practice
(4) Before or during the imaging and auscultation services referred to in subsection (1), the relevant medical practitioner or the qualified person, as the case may be, shall offer the pregnant woman, orally and in person, the opportunity to view the active
ultrasound of the foetus and hear the heartbeat of the foetus, if the heartbeat is audible.
(5) At least 24 hours before the carrying out of a termination of pregnancy the relevant medical practitioner shall certify that—(a) foetal ultrasound imaging and auscultation of foetal heart tone have been performed,
(b) the pregnant woman has been offered the opportunity to view the active ultrasound image of the foetus and to hear the heartbeat of the foetus, if the heartbeat is audible,
(c) the pregnant woman either—(i) requested to view the active ultrasound imaging and hear auscultation of foetal heart tone, or(6) The relevant medical practitioner shall obtain the signature of the pregnant woman on the certification referred to in subsection (5)verifying that it is factually correct.
(ii) opted not to view the active ultrasound imaging and hear auscultation of foetal heart tone.
(7) A medical practitioner who contravenes subsection (1), (4), (5)or (6)shall be guilty of an offence.
(8) A person who is guilty of an offence under subsection (7)shall be liable—(a) on summary conviction to a class A fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both,
(b) on conviction on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 4 years, or both.(9) In this section—"auscultation" means the act of listening for sounds made by internal organs of the foetus, specifically for a foetal heartbeat, utilizing an ultrasound transducer and foetal heart rate (FHR) monitor or similar device;
"midwife" means a person whose name is for the time being registered in the midwives division of the register of nurses and midwives established under section 46 of the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011;
"nurse" means a person whose name is for the time being registered in the register of nurses and midwives established under section 46 of the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011;
"qualified person" means a nurse, midwife or medical practitioner who is competent to perform foetal ultrasound imaging and auscultation of foetal heart tone services;
"relevant medical practitioner" means—(i) in the case of a termination of pregnancy to be carried out in accordance with section 10or 12, the obstetrician by whom the termination of pregnancy is to be carried out, and"ultrasound" means the use of ultrasonic waves for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes, specifically to monitor a developing foetus.".
(ii) in the case of a termination of pregnancy to be carried out in accordance with section 13, the medical practitioner who has certified or is required to certify his or her opinion as to the matter referred to in subsection (1)of that section;
Gerry Adams, Mick Barry, John Brady, John Brassil, Declan Breathnach, Colm Brophy, Tommy Broughan, James Browne, Richard Bruton, Pat Buckley, Joan Burton, Mary Butler, Catherine Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Pat Casey, Lisa Chambers, Joan Collins, Catherine Connolly, Ruth Coppinger, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, John Curran, Pearse Doherty, Stephen Donnelly, Timmy Dooley, Andrew Doyle, Bernard Durkan, Dessie Ellis, Damien English, Martin Ferris, Frances Fitzgerald, Kathleen Funchion, Pat Gallagher, Simon Harris, Seán Haughey, Séamus Healy, Martin Heydon, Brendan Howlin, Heather Humphreys, Paul Kehoe, Billy Kelleher, Alan Kelly, Martin Kenny, Seán Kyne, John Lahart, Marc MacSharry, Josepha Madigan, Micheál Martin, Finian McGrath, Michael McGrath, John McGuinness, Joe McHugh, Tony McLoughlin, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Denise Mitchell, Aindrias Moynihan, Imelda Munster, Margaret Murphy O'Mahony, Catherine Murphy, Eoghan Murphy, Eugene Murphy, Tom Neville, Darragh O'Brien, Jonathan O'Brien, Jim O'Callaghan, Kate O'Connell, Fergus O'Dowd, Fiona O'Loughlin, Louise O'Reilly, Frank O'Rourke, Jan O'Sullivan, Maureen O'Sullivan, Eoin Ó Broin, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Éamon Ó Cuív, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Thomas Pringle, Maurice Quinlivan, Anne Rabbitte, Eamon Ryan, Eamon Scanlon, Seán Sherlock, Bríd Smith, Brian Stanley, David Stanton, Robert Troy, Leo Varadkar.