Taoiseach Enda Kenny has ruled out a free vote for Fine Gael TDs on the issue of abortion.

Mr Kenny told reporters that his party had very clear rules and they involved people who were elected, voting in accordance with party decisions.

He was speaking in Cardiff where he is attending a meeting of the British-Irish Council.

Earlier, Junior Minister Brian Hayes said he still felt abortion was an issue on which TDs should be allowed a free vote.

The Dáil debates a motion from the Technical Group this week on abortion.

Mr Kenny also expressed confidence in Health Minister James Reilly, who he described as having taken on an enormous brief.

Meanwhile, Minister Reilly said there is no split between Government parties on how to proceed in dealing with the expert group report on abortion.

He said the Cabinet will only consider the report tomorrow, after which it is hoped there will be a good parliamentary debate with input from all sides.

Mr Reilly said there will hopefully be consensus in the debate on the way forward.

Minister Reilly repeated what he said in the Dáil some months ago, that this is an issue that he will not leave behind him as health minister.

He said that this will not be the seventh government not to take action required to clarify the issue.

Psychiatrist issues suicide decision warning

A leading psychiatrist, specialising in the care of pregnant women, has said legislators need to give "very careful consideration" to who has suffcient qualifications and experience to decide if a pregnant woman is at risk of suicide.

Dr Anthony McCarthy, one of only three perinatal psychiatrists in the country, warned against the introduction of what he called a "tick box" system of deciding whether or not a woman is entitled to an abortion.

Dr McCarthy, a consultant at the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, was speaking ahead of the publication of the report of an expert group on abortion tomorrow, which is expected to recommend that two psychiatrists and an obstetrician be involved in cases where suicide poses a risk to the life of a mother.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Dr McCarthy said it is important that the risk of suicide is not ignored, or stigmatised. He said while cases are rare, they are real.

He said that one of the most common causes of maternal death in the UK and Ireland is suicide.

He said it is difficult to establish how common the problem is in Ireland, because most women in those circumstances here currently travel to England for an abortion, without presenting for care to professionals here.