Taoiseach Enda Kenny has responded to views made on the abortion legislation by Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin.

Dr Martin has said plans to legislate for abortion would give less protection to the unborn than in other countries with more liberal abortion laws.

In a letter to the Irish Times, he said he was concerned with one aspect of the heads of the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013.

Dr Martin said his concern relates specifically to where there is a threat to the life of the mother because of the threat of suicide.

He also said he has concerns relating to situations where the unborn child is viable at the time a termination is being considered.

In response, Mr Kenny said the legislation is about bringing clarity to protection of life of the mother and the requirement to do everything possible and practicable to save the life of the unborn as well.

Mr Kenny said that in any assessment of a person in difficulty with pregnancy there is a requirement to do everything practicable in the sense of saving the unborn and mothers.

Dr Martin said "his anxiety" is that "it would be permissible for medical specialists to certify that the medical procedure necessary to avert the risk to the mother's life consists of a termination of her pregnancy at a stage when, if a different method of terminating the pregnancy were used, the child would be delivered alive".

Elsewhere, the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children have finalised the witnesses to appear over three days of public hearings.