Two members of the Oireachtas committee examining the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution have clashed over the effectiveness of the hearings following yesterday's vote, with one member describing it as a "sham process".

Independent Senator Rónán Mullen described the committee as a cynical process designed to convince the public that a change in "a life-saving law" was necessary.

Mr Mullen was speaking on Today with Sean O'Rourke following last night's vote by the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution to agree not to recommend the retention of the amendment in full.

Mr Mullen said the committee had heard from dozens of abortion advocates, but just three or four witnesses who would have advocated the pro-life position.

His comments were in contrast to those of Fine Gael TD Kate O'Connell, who said the committee had listened to extensive advice from members of the legal community, human rights representatives, and the World Health Organisation before the vote.

Mr Mullen maintained that there had been no interest in hearing from pro-life groups and he said the committee had not heard from anyone representing families who felt they had been saved by the Eighth Amendment.

He added that "what put the tin hat on it" was the decision by the committee yesterday to go ahead and vote to recommend a change to the Eighth Amendment without waiting to hear from the rest of the invitees.

He said that evidence given by expert witness Dr Peter Boylan went far beyond limited abortion, adding that while he did not doubt Dr Boylan's medical competence, he did question his ethical view of abortion. 

In response, Ms O'Connell said that there had been a clear-cut result following the vote.

The Fine Gael TD said: "We can park the idea of doing nothing and we can move on to the options available to us."

She said that before the vote was taken by the committee members, they had listened to extensive advice from members of the legal community, human rights representatives, and the World Health Organisation.

"We didn't just listen to doctors yesterday, but medical experts," Ms O'Connell said.

"We are not leaving the Eighth Amendment as it is. We are moving into a space of, how do we effect change? What can we do to achieve what we set out to achieve? I am trying to end the uncertainty that medical people face every day, and the women of Ireland have been facing for decades."

She also said that opinion polls showed there was an appetite for a repeal of the Eighth Amendment and moving on to how to go about that.

Meanwhile, Professor Patricia Casey, a consultant psychiatrist with the Mater Hospital, has withdrawn from an appearance at the committee next week.

In a letter to the committee, Professor Casey said that she was "unwilling to participate in a process that is so deeply-imbalanced in respect of those invited to present evidence".

She said: "I will not add any further credence to this deeply flawed process or to its inevitable and equally flawed conclusion that a referendum is required to repeal the Eighth Amendment without any meaningful constitutional protection for the unborn child."