Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that Health Minister Leo Varadkar was speaking in a personal capacity when he made his comments on abortion last night.

Minister Varadkar told the Dáil that the current constitutional situation was “too restrictive”.

He said it had no regard for the long term health of the mother  and also forced couples to bear children that had no chance of survival outside the womb.

He said it forces them "against their own judgement, to explain for weeks and months to all enquirers that their baby is dead."

Speaking to journalists Mr Kenny said the minister was speaking in a personal capacity in a private member's debate on the issue. 

He said his Government had been the first in 20 years to legislate in this divisive area; there would not be another referendum on abortion in the lifetime of the current administration.

However, as he put it, there was a need to monitor and assess situations that fell outside the existing legislation.