Independent TD Mattie McGrath, who is a member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, has expressed his concern at the “indecent haste” at which the Health Committee appears to be dealing with the hearings into the Government’s decision to legislate for abortion.
The Committee is to hold three days of hearings on 8, 9 and 10 January following the decision by Government to proceed to address the issues raised in the ABC judgement with legislation and regulations, within the parameters of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court and the purpose of the meetings is to gather information which will be of assistance to Government in the drafting of the Heads of Bill following its decision.
However Deputy McGrath has expressed his concern at the indecent haste and lack of information about the process.
“The Committee is to hear contributions from experienced medical practitioners, legal experts, representatives of churches and religious groups and from advocacy groups; however, just days before the hearings are to begin I am still waiting for information on who will address the Committee” said Deputy McGrath
“I have requested this information and have been informed that it may be made available on Friday before we meet on Monday and the Christmas break has been cited as a reason for this lack of information. My question is why the indecent haste? We knew that there was a break when the Hearing dates were set and I just do not think that it is reasonable that we still do not know who will address the Committee days before the hearings begin.”
Deputy McGrath has also expressed concern that the Committee are being pressured into dealing with this issue at an inappropriate pace and has said that the autonomy of the Committee must be protected.
“This is a very serious matter and we need time to get this right and we need to ensure that there is balance. I submitted a list of groups/ representatives that I would like to address the Committee to ensure that there is balance and I still do not know whether these people have been invited to the hearings. We are being led by the nose and we have no proper information. Acting at such haste will have dire consequences and it is wholly inappropriate.” concluded Deputy McGrath