Sinn Fein has suspended one of its TD’s Carol Nolan after she voted against going forward with the 36th Amendment to the Constitution Bill, which paves the way for a referendum on repeal of the eight amendment.
Sinn Fein’s new leader Mary Lou McDonald has refused to allow her party colleagues to vote according to conscience and delivered on her threat to punish those who did.
Other parliamentary parties such as Fianna Fail and Fine Gael have allowed party members to vote as they please on the issue, despite both parties leaders being in favour of holding a referendum and bring greater access to abortion to Ireland.
Two Fine Gael TD’s and 21 Fianna Fail TD’s including stalwarts like Éamon Ó Cuív and young up and comers like Jack Chambers voted against the amendment, something that has shaken the party’s faith in the leadership of Micheál Martin.
Deputy Martin had been a stringent pro-life voice for the entirety of his career before doing an abrupt about face on abortion in the last several months.
The bill passed by 110 to 32.
The Eighth Amendment is the amendment in the Constitution that currently protects unborn Irish babies from abortion.