Thursday, 6 December 2018
Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018: Second Stage
-----and the actual rights of women, whether it be gender pay, women's rights in the workplace and society, and reproductive health. We rarely, if ever, hear any mention from those who stood up here today and in the Dáil over the past few days about those real, everyday issues that are evident all around us. Time and again, those people are quick to judge women in crisis and tell women how they should run their lives. As an Irish man, I object to that. I have no right to do that. We are thankfully introducing legislation that will reflect the views expressed by the vast majority of Irish people, up and down this country, north, south, east and west. This society needs to change and is changing.
My involvement in the Together for Yes movement was inspiring and emotional. Senator Bacik was in my constituency office last Monday and there is a little hall in that office that we made available for the very first cross-party and cross-community Together for Yes meeting in Drogheda. It was packed to the rafters. We did not even have to promote that meeting, just word of mouth got around that that meeting was taking place. A bunch of people, of all political persuasions and none, came together to unite around this issue to make Ireland a more tolerant, pluralist and better society. We did that together by speaking with a democratic voice at that referendum last summer. We have an obligation now to legislate to give voice to that historic decision. I am grateful for being a Member of this Oireachtas with that obligation and responsibility.
I also thank Senator Noone for the role she played in her expert chairpersonship of the committee. That will go down in history and she can be proud of the role she played, as can many people in this Chamber and across the Oireachtas.