Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte has said it would be a retrograde step if the Catholic Church went back to dictating to elected representatives how to address the issue of abortion.

Mr Rabbitte was responding to Cardinal Seán Brady’s assertion on RTÉ’s This Week programme that the church would lobby public representatives as part of its campaign against abortion.

An expert group is due to report to the Minister for Health next month on the implications for Government of a 2010 European Court of Human Rights ruling.

Cardinal Brady said the church believes a new referendum on abortion was possibly the only solution.

However, he said the church would await the findings of the expert group and study them.

Minister Rabbitte said he did not have any objection to the church stating its position, but was surprised by the cardinal’s reference to lobbying.

He said the Government did not see any necessity for undoing what had been done to date, but did need to address the fallout from the X Case and the decision of the ECHR.