News Blog

Full coverage of reaction to the proposed abortion legislation. Contact us @IrishTimesLive

Roisin Ingle Wed, May 1
LIVE: News Blog

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  • 08:06
    Mayday, Mayday! Roisin Ingle here on the live blog machine. The main focus this morning will be the government press briefing on the proposed abortion legislation which kicks off at the unusually early (for this kind of thing) time of 8.15am.

    We'll be bringing you the latest on the Heads of the Bill for the Protection of Life During Pregnancy formerly known as the Maternal Life Bill.
  • 08:11
    Here's Ruadhan Mac Cormaic's analysis piece for

  • 08:23
    From our front page story today: "The compromise Bill, which runs to 33 pages, is detailed and complex and includes a test for suicide risk which one Minister described as strict and robust."

     It proposes an assessment of the woman involving a panel of three doctors - to include two psychiatrists and one obstetrician - who must agree unanimously that there is a risk of "loss of life from self destruction".

    If a termination is refused she can request an appeal which will involve a review by a further three doctors who must also agree unanimously.
  • 08:29
    At the briefing the Taoiseach says abortion is an issue that has been "very divisive and contentious" for over 30 years. It is a "complex and sensitive" issue about which many Irish people have "sincere and strongly held" views.

    "We are a compassionate people. This is about women. It's about saving lives ... this bill restates the general prohibition on abortion in Ireland. The law is not being changed."

  • 08:35
    Eamon Gilmore talking now at the press briefing about the X case. " 21 years later we are now in a position to legislate for x, we are doing no more and we are doing no less. It is our duty to vindicate the rights of tens of thousands of women and their families ... what we are doing is finding a sensible and workable solution that respects the rights of women and ensures the woman's voice will be heard"
  • 08:36
    Health Minister James Reilly talking now saying it's important to stress the significance of the proposed legislation. "This government has faced up the issues involved".
  • 08:38
    Reilly: "We have been guided in our work by a caring and sensitive approach to women ..."
  • 08:41
    Briefing opened to questions now. Taoiseach asked if he's confident that the measures contained within the bill will assuage concerns of backbenchers who have difficulties with the proposed legislation particularly around the suicide risk

    Taoseach: "I hope we can bring everybody with us ... but I do believe it's important to know the law is not being changed here ... it's a clarification of existing rights within existing law ... ".
  • 08:46
    Taoiseach asked why the deliberations took so long and what was the mood in the cabinet: He replied that the mood was "very constructive and focused".

    "There were 28 items on the agenda for the cabinet meeting. We ran out of time on the first occasion we resumed that meeting afterwards ... "

  • 08:49
    Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald says the bill gives "clarity and consistency" to women and medics who have been "baffled" by what has already been outlined in the constitution.
  • 08:52
    Taoiseach and Tanaiste have left the briefing to attend other appointments.
  • 09:03
    Jennifer O'Connell writes about Amanda Knox in her column today ... "If you want to know the definition of 'vitriol' google 'Amanda Knox'" she writes.
  • 09:08
  • 09:09
    For the day that's in it there's a 1983 debate featuring Alice Glenn, Fr Michael Cleary and Monica Barnes on abortion legislation.
  • 09:17
  • 09:24

    Cosmetic surgery trends show how the female body is constantly fetishised writes Hadley Freeman in The Guardian.

  • 09:32
    Gerry Thornley's piece from yesterday about some class of rugby news is the second-most popular article on the website #priorities
  • 09:35
  • 09:36
    A bit of grainy May Day footage from 1941 Russia for you there, with added Stalin.
  • 09:37
  • 09:55
    One of America's first child stars Deanna Durbin died the other day at 91. Might root out some You Tube action to mark her passing. Apparently she sang a mean Nessun Dorma.
  • 09:55
  • 10:10
    James Reilly on Pat Kenny now talking about the proposed abortion legislation.
  • 10:13
    Meanwhile, special one Jose Mourinho gives his strongest hint yet that he might be returning to Chelsea. "I know that in England I am loved by the fans and the media," said the most modest man in soccer.
  • 10:19
    The Taoiseach legged it from the abortion press briefing to attend a less contentious event, the announcement of 100 jobs for new Squarespace Dublin HQ. (Squarewhatnow? "It's a web publishing company, obviously" she said stroking her chin knowledgeably)
  • 10:22
  • 10:30
    Important musical-related news incoming. Apparently Jamie Foxx is in negotiations to join the cast of the Jay Z produced movie remake of Annie joining Quvenzhané Wallis in the title role. Altogether now, "it's a hard knock life ..." First earworm of the day delivered. You're welcome.
  • 10:33
    For the literally thousands asking, Foxx is in the frame for the Daddy Warbucks role who in the new movie will be called Benjamin Stacks as in "stacks" of "Benjamins" (dollars).
  • 10:41
    Just saw a really romantic story on the wires:

    England rugby player Ben Foden has confessed that he picked his wife Saturday's star from Co Tipperary Una Healy off the TV during a pub lunch. The 27-year-old revealed how he selected his future partner to Attitude magazine.

    "I'd been having lunch in a pub with my agent when he asked about my love life and I was, 'Oh, non existent'.

    "He asked if there was anyone I was thinking about, then The Saturdays popped up on the music channel in the corner and I said, 'Oh, the one in the blue tights'. And the next thing I know I've got a text saying, 'She's expecting your call'."


  • 10:48
    Coronation Street star William Roache (81) who has played Ken Barlow since the programme began has been arrested in connection with the sexual assault of an underage girl. The allegation concerns an incident dating back to 1967. A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “An 81-year-old man from Wilmslow in Cheshire has this morning, Wednesday May 1 2013, been arrested by Lancashire Constabulary on suspicion of rape. “The man will be interviewed at a police station in Lancashire during the course of the day. “We take all allegations of sexual abuse extremely seriously and would encourage people with any information about sexual abuse, or anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse, to come forward and report their concerns confident in the knowledge they will be investigated appropriately and with sensitivity.”
  • 10:53
    Workers in Greece have staged a May Day protest against austerity. “Our message today is very clear: Enough with these policies which hurt people and make the poor poorer,” Ilias Iliopoulos, general secretary of public sector union ADEDY, told Reuters.
  • 11:01
    Today is the first day of Bealtaine, our month-long festival celebrating creativity as we get older. There’s a whopping 3,500 events taking place and today at 2.30pm the country’s first Complaints Choir will be getting their moan on in Temple Bar’s Meeting House Square in Dublin. Whingetastic.
  • 11:04
  • 11:13
    In other Bealtaine and ageing related news:  Mary Portas is to help over-65s back into work by opening an employment agency. The high street shopping guru believes she has spotted a new “business opportunity” by tapping into the grey army of people who may be considered to be on the scrap-heap. She is hoping to free up the untapped potential by helping them back into the work place to use their skills and experience.
  • 11:24
    Letter from today's paper. Nicely played, Mr Casserly.

    Sir, – I hope you don’t mind my pointing this out, but in that list of the 25 best places to holiday in Ireland ye listed (Home News, April 29th), well, ye left out the Seanad. – Yours, etc,


    Waterfall, Near Cork.
  • 11:29
    Man shot dead in Dublin:

    Gardai in Rathcoole are investigating   a fatal shooting at Greenogue Industrial Estate, Rathcoole earlier this morning.
    The shooting occurred at approximately 9.30am when a male in his mid 40's received gun shot wounds to his body, he was seriously injured and taken to Tallaght Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
  • 11:31
  • 11:33
    It was the coldest April in 24 years according to Met Eireann. No pressure, May.
  • 11:38
  • 11:46
  • 11:51
    This graph showing Irish abortion statistics in the UK in 2011 compared with other countries is worth a look.
  • 11:58
  • 12:06
    There's a rumour going around that Natalie Portman has agreed to play Lady Macbeth in a new film adaptation with none other than Michael Fassbender as her husband. As Jezebel puts it "let the hot villainous sex-scheming begin!".
  • 12:24
    "I have no agenda except to try and make this work," says Mary Robinson, UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes on a visit to Goma.
  • 12:35
    Vincent Browne's column today about the super rich and their power over humanity is a good read.
  • 12:47
    For your pre-lunch perusal, these are the most popular stories on the site at the moment:

    1 Yes, Amanda Knox was guilty. Guilty of being naive and guilty of liking sex

    2 A good dynamic blend but Lions squad may be short of playmakers

    3 Taoiseach rules out option of free vote on abortion legislation

    4 Taking a closer look at how the super rich make it

    5 Coronation Street actor Bill Roache held over alleged rape
  • 12:47
  • 12:51
  • 13:14
    Aaaahhh. Chelsea's Ivanovic is a forgiving sort of guy. He had this to say about arm-chomping Suarez.

    “When it happened I was really surprised and, of course, in shock,” he said. “But, when the match it ended, it all cooled down. I almost forgot about everything. The next day we talked on the phone and I accepted his apology. I didn’t attack him for what he had done, but I also didn’t defend him.

    “But I forgive him. For me that can happen. But I really don’t care too much.”
  • 13:31
    ‘If your results are positive, we’ll call you within one to two weeks. If not, you won’t be contacted,” the doctor told me before she took a sample of my blood. I wondered how on earth I could go the next couple of weeks not knowing whether I was sexually healthy."
  • 13:38
    Came across this via @suzanne_moore yesterday. A slightly depressing lunchtime read about places where women are still not represented. Reality check ahoy.
  • 13:59
    Some great pics here from May Day celebrations around the world.
  • 14:00
  • 14:07
    Former Master of Holles Street Peter Boylan says the letter in today's Irish Times from obstetricians and gynaecologists is a "direct attack" on his professional opinion.
  • 14:10
  • 14:17
  • 14:33
    "Oh do man up, Peter, as I believe the expression goes. You mustn't allow yourself to be – what's that other figure of speech? – pussywhipped by these clubs."

    Marina Hyde is brilliant in The Guardian today writing about the men-only Royal and Ancient golf club in Muirfield, Scotland where the British Open will be held in July.
  • 14:39
  • 14:53
    An Post’s most unprofitable business is its postal delivery service. Yes, you read that correctly.
  • 14:57
    From Bangladesh : "Why are they taking so much time to pull out bodies?" asked a grief-stricken father who, like many others, has been waiting on the streets near the collapsed factory, hoping for information about his son.
  • 15:08
    An online poll suggests the majority of British people who follow a religious faith support the law being changed to allow assisted suicide.
  • 15:19
    Love this Beatley photo of Cavan beat-combo The Strypes who are off on their first UK headline tour soon.
  • 15:36
    I'm amusing myself with this story from the wires about a giant, electric blue fibreglass cockerel. Time for a coffee and maybe a little lie-down I think.

    LONDON May 1 (Reuters) - Plans to erect a statue of a giant, electric blue French cockerel in the shadow of Nelson's Column in London's Trafalgar Square have ruffled feathers among British heritage enthusiasts.

    Never mind that Lord Nelson's greatest victory, the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, was against the French, the 4.7-metre (15-foot) high statue by Katharina Fritsch has been deemed "totally inappropriate" on aesthetic grounds by the campaigners.

    The fibreglass cockerel, entitled "Hahn/Cock", will replace a sculpture of a boy on a rocking horse on the square's "fourth plinth", which since 1999 has hosted artworks including a marble carving of a pregnant woman with no arms or legs, and 2,400 selected members of the public posing over 100 consecutive days.
  • 15:43
  • 16:05
  • 16:14
    Warning: This post contains unicorn riding vampires:

    She was criticised for outlawing working-at-home but now Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer has been praised for doubling paid maternity leave for workers. New mothers can now take 16 weeks of paid leave while fathers can take up to eight weeks.

    As the writer of this Jezebel piece points out this new parental leave policy "will definitely make Yahoo stand out to prospective employees, since finding really good paid maternity leave in America is like hunting for a unicorn-riding vampire."

  • 16:26
    Gender based cereal or 'Sexcereal': Not a gimmick, allegedly.
  • 16:35
  • 16:44
    Canada based Niall McArdle has written a fascinating piece on Irish emigrant Mother Jones, the miner's angel aka "the most dangerous woman in America" to mark International Workers Day.

     Born in Cork in 1830 Mary Harris was five foot but had a "towering rage". “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living” was her motto.
  • 16:50
    A 12-year-old is going to play in the Volvo China Open. More on the youngest player on the European Tour and other golf related news here.
  • 17:12
    Junior Minister Kathleen Lynch talking about the Heads of the Bill for the Protection of Life During Pregnancy on RTE's Drivetime now.

  • 17:13
    Kathleen Lynch: "When it comes to psychiatrists we have to trust people ... it is about trust and ensuring that at the end of the day women's lives are protected ... we took our time about it ... and I believe we have come up with a very reasonable piece of legislation that is very workable".
  • 17:17
    Lynch says we should remind ourselves of why we're here, "because a 14-year-old-girl who was raped and found herself pregnant and a Supreme Court in a much more conservative climate than the one we have now decided that suicide was a threat to the mother."

  • 17:22
    That's it from me, tomorrow Conor Pope will be manning live blog HQ and may even have news of the minestrone soups he's been testing for Pricewatch if you are very lucky.