The Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin has called on the Government to amend its proposed abortion law.

Dr Michael Jackson says the father of an unborn baby should be consulted while his partner is being assessed for a possible abortion.

He said such consultation should be required when the couple know each other "quite well".

Dr Jackson was speaking as over 500 members of the Church of Ireland gathered from all parts of the country for their annual Synod or parliament.

Earlier, Church of Ireland Primate, Archbishop Richard Clarke, urged the Church to speak out on its belief that all life is a gift from God from its earliest beginnings to its earthly end.

The Primate said he felt passionately about "end of life issues" and ethical questions about when life begins.

He said that if Church members believe that all life is a gift of God, they must address the question of how that gift is to be treated, even in times of trauma and pain.

The Archbishop said the Church would be heard if it spoke compassionately, intelligently and spiritually.

But he warned its response would be too late if it was delayed until the State had already legislated on such matters.

He also called on every responsible Christian disciple to be ready to confront politicians and non-politicians who would treat human life as a commodity.

Archbishop Clarke also said that over one-third of children are living in poverty in Belfast and Derry, and an estimated 200,000 children and teenagers are impoverished throughout the whole island.

He said the Church could not remain detached from this level of clearly visibly suffering where every aspect of children's lives are so massively damaged.

The Church's only openly gay clergyman spoke of several deceased gay clergy.

But a proposal to exclude openly gay people from a church committee discussing gay ordination and marriage won support from some.

The Synod continues until Saturday.