President Michael D Higgins is to convene a meeting of the Council of State next Monday for the purpose of consulting with it on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

The bill was delivered to Áras an Uachtaráin today for consideration by the President.

He has seven days to decide whether to sign it into law or to refer it to the Supreme Court to test its compliance with the Constitution.

The President must consult the Council of State, a body made up of current and former senior office holders and seven of the president's own appointees, before referring a bill to the Supreme Court.

However, he does not have to heed its advice.

If the legislation is referred to the Supreme Court, the court will have up to 60 days to reach a decision.

Should the court approve the bill, its constitutionality could not be subsequently challenged and it automatically becomes law.