In the flurry of activity surrounding the SIPTU vote yesterday, the publication of the Government’s Summer Legislative Programme seems to have been lost. Among the many Bills that they expect to publish in the months prior to the Dáil rising for the summer is the Protection of Maternal Life Bill 2013.
The description of the Bill runs as follows;
To implement the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in A, B and C v Ireland by way of legislation with regulations, within the parameters of the Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court in the X case, and to make appropriate amendments to the criminal law in this area.
All sounds very innocuous but this has the same potential to cause a few Fine Gael TDs to lose the whip as the rejection of CPII does for Labour. There has already been plenty of rumblings in the background (and some in the foreground) on this from FG sources. The original commitment was to have this Bill enacted prior to the summer recess but that pace may cause internal problems for FG.
The Government’s majority is huge but the slow drain is eventually going to cause instability if it continues on. Labour is already suffering from some instability because of the presence within the Dáil of a number of TDs who are no longer under the whip and who are now linking up with dissatisfied members throughout the broader party. Will this Bill cause something similar to occur within Fine Gael?