The Cabinet will hold a special meeting on Monday evening to discuss the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

Ministers are due to formally decide on holding a referendum and the Taoiseach has previously promised to hold a referendum in May or June.

The Minister for Health Simon Harris is due to outline his approach to the question to be put to the people.

This would look at whether there should be a simple repeal of the amendment or whether there should be an enabling provision added to the Constitution to let the Oireachtas legislate on the issue.

The Minister for Health will also outline his approach to the draft legislation that will be published later. It will show the implications of what it would mean if the referendum was passed.

Earlier, the Taoiseach said that he absolutely trusted the Irish people to make the right decision on the future Eighth Amendment.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, he said people would ultimately decide this issue based on empathy and compassion while not disrespecting human life.

Leo Varadkar was responding to questions from the Opposition about his meeting with church leaders yesterday.

He said the Catholic Church was opposed to the repeal of the amendment, while the Protestant congregations were "a little bit more nuanced" but were not supportive of the proposals made by the Oireachtas committee.

Mr Varadkar said all sides agreed at yesterday's meeting that the debate that will occur in the coming months should be respectful and should not be personalised.

Martin: Floodgates won't open if abortion legalised

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said he does not believe "the floodgates" will open if abortion is legalised in Ireland.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Prime Time, he defended his decision to announce in the Dáil that he favours repealing the Eighth Amendment and allowing access to abortion up to 12 weeks.

He said it allowed him an opportunity to set out his way of thinking and make his observations after doing a lot of research over Christmas.

Deputy Martin said while some party members were disappointed, he was heartened by the response from some members and non members.

He said ultimately one has to make up one's own mind on this issue.

He said "I don't believe there's an absolute position on this. It's not black and white there's a lot of grey.

"I don't think the floodgates will open. I believe the vast majority of pregnancies will be full term or as close as possible"

This evening, around eight members of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party, who are in favour of retaining the Eighth Amendment, attended a meeting at Leinster House.

The meeting was organised by the backbench TD Bobby Aylward, who said he had received 18 apologies from TDs and Senators who could not attend.

He said they had agreed at the meeting to raise their issues at tomorrow's parliamentary party meeting.

Meanwhile, the Dáil resumed statements on the report of the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment.

Danny Healy-Rae of the Rural Independent Group said people should educate themselves and the Eighth Amendment has served the country and its people well for over 30 years.

The leaders of the Social Democrats and the Green party said they would be supporting a repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

Co-Leader of the Social Democrats Roisín Shortall said the public deserved early clarification as to whether the Eighth should be repealed or replaced.

Fianna Fáil Deputy Michael McGrath stressed the need for a non-judgemental, respectful debate and said he did not favour change along the lines of the committee’s, which he said went too far.