Minister for Children Katherine Zappone has said stifling the debate on the Eighth Amendment would not serve anyone's best interest over the coming weeks.

She said guidelines must be issued to all broadcasters so that every producer, journalist and presenter in Ireland is aware of what is fair and what is not.

Minister Zappone was speaking at the resumption of the Dáil debate on the report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment.

She said repealing the Eighth is a human rights issue and it needed to be achieved if there is to be a true "Republic of Equals".

During the debate Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tobin indicated that he is adopting a different position to that of his party.

He said: "My own party believes that the Eighth Amendment should be repealed and that abortion should be made available in certain circumstances where there is life limiting disability, rape, incest and where there is a  threat to the mother's life and health."

But, he added, "I have a different view than my party on this issue.

"Over 100 years ago through the Proclamation, republicans from all around the country set forth a progressive view of a new independent Ireland and at the heart of that proclamation was the objective to cherish all the children of the nation equally and this objective is also at the heart of my viewpoint".

Fianna Fáil TD Fiona O’Loughlin took issue with "misinformation and scaremongering" by groups opposed to abortion where there have been suggestions that babies with Down syndrome will be aborted.

She said: "As a sister of a much loved brother with Down syndrome, and as someone who has had lifelong involvement with Special Olympics and worked with 180 towns around the island of Ireland celebrating the abilities and achievements of people with disabilities, I find this misinformation and scaremongering abhorrent.

"And as for those in the pro-life lobby who chose a photograph of a little girl with Down syndrome on promotional literature. I say shame on you.

"That is disrespectful to my brother who reads the papers and follows the news every day, to his peers and to all the families who have children with Down syndrome".

Her party colleague Eugene Murphy told that Dáil that he is proud to say he is pro-life and has received more than 400 emails from within his consituency where the majority were pro-life.

The Roscommon TD said he does not just go with the flow on the issue and that if "we go for what the committee has proposed" on abortions up to 12 weeks "we are going down a very slippery slope".

Martin: Dáil chamber best place to set out views

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is understood to have told his party's TDs and Senators at a meeting in Leinster House this evening that the Dáil chamber was the most appropriate place to set-out his views on the Eighth Amendment last week.

There had been concern expressed by some TDs before the meeting that Mr Martin should first have informed them at last week's Parliamentary Party meeting.

This evening there were repeated calls for the party to stay united and to respect that there were diverse views within it on the abortion issue.

It is believed there were assurances that all views within the party would be heard in the media during the referendum campaign.

Carlow-Kilkenny TD Bobby Aylward  told the meeting the gathering of like-minded Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators he organised yesterday was never a criticism of the party leader.