Ceann Comhairle says broadcasting Dáil could have led to different abortion wording in Constitution

Thursday 15 November 2012 23.12
Sean Barrett was chief whip of the government when the issue was debated
Sean Barrett was chief whip of the government when the issue was debated

The Ceann Comhairle has said that live broadcasting of Dáil debates in the 1980s could have led to a different wording on the abortion issue being put in the Constitution.

Launching a new communications strategy for the Oireachtas, Sean Barrett said broadcast of Dáil proceedings at the time would have led to a "more informed" debate.

He said the government of the day, of which he was chief whip, received clear advice that the wording would cause difficulties.

He said it would mean doctors would have problems with the equal right to life of the mother and foetus, and with defining the "unborn".

He said if this had been broadcast, "we might not have had the wording we have".