Abortion referendum to be discussed at tonight’s CRC

DCU’s Class Rep Council (CRC) will this evening discuss a referendum to decide the Students’ Union’s stance on the X-Case, which will take place in semester 2.

Council voted to hold a referendum in semester 2 on the issue during the CRC meeting held on November 28th, following a recommendation from former DCU SU President, Independent TD Clare Daly.

Daly referred to the recent case of Savita Halappanavar and extended her sympathy to Savita’s husband and family saying: “This loss is all the worse because it need not have happened.”

Daly said: “Make no mistake, had Labour and Fine Gael acted upon our Bill, medical guidelines could have been in place which would have ensured that there would have been no grounds for equivocation about performing an abortion when there was a risk to the life of the woman.”

She continued: “Instead, the government took the cowardly step of hiding behind the fourth ‘expert
group’ on abortion since 1992. This refusal to act has contributed to the circumstances which brought about this woman’s death. Fianna Fáil and the Greens also bear responsibility, due to their failure to legislate for the X Case.”

DCU students previously voted on the issue in 1992, choosing the “pro information” option as there was no information on abortion available in Ireland at the time.

At this evening’s CRC meeting the nature of the referendum and ballot paper questions will be discussed and the council will ask representatives to discuss the issue with their classes and base votes on the beliefs of the whole group.

DCU Electoral Committee Returning Officer, Steve Conlon refused to comment on the referendum. “It would be inappropriate for me to comment until we have been given essentially a ‘terms of reference’ for the referendum by means of a ballot question.

“Whatever the ballot question will be the DCU student body can be assured that the Electoral Committee will, as it has in the past, carry out its duties with diligence and impartiality.”

The SU is the second most powerful decision making body within the college behind students themselves and the Council is urging all students to attend tonight’s meeting given the seriousness of this issue.

Daly proposed a Private Members Bill to the Dáil in April this year proposing to legislate on the X-case with TDs Mick Wallace and Joan Collins, however the bill was rejected. It was reintroduced in November only to be rejected a second time.

Gill Fitzsimons

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