Minister for Health plans to publish legislation in early July regardless of court actions

Mr Harris will brief the Opposition on Thursday on the issue but a source said the Government was mindful of the fact it could not be committal on the timeline. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire


The Government cannot introduce legislation to allow for abortion services until all court challenges to the result of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment are concluded, The Irish Times has learned.

The referendum, which paved the way for liberalising the State’s strict abortion laws, was passed by a near two-to-one majority last month, but there have been a number of court challenges to the result.

Government sources confirmed the petitions initiated could cause a delay in implementing the legislation to allow for access to abortion. Three separate applications will be heard in the High Court on June 26th.

Legal sources expect the court to refuse the applications, but each applicant will have an opportunity to challenge that decision to the Court of Appeal and potentially the Supreme Court.

“Legal cases have to conclude before legislation is enacted,” the Government source said.