President convenes Council of State over abortion legislation

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The enactment of the new abortion legislation could face delays of up to two months after it was referred by the President to the Council of State.
The Council is made up of President Higgins, the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, former Presidents and the five former Taoisigh. It will meet at Áras an Uachtaráin next Monday to decide whether to refer the legislation to the Supreme Court.
If that happens it could take up to 60 days for 5 judges to mull over the bill and decide if the court can uphold it.
Should the the legislation be passed, it can never be challenged on Constitutional grounds again by a citizen in the court and will automatically become law.
Our Political Correspondent Paraic Gallagher explains the process.
“They can pour over it in private – they don’t have to hold an open court sitting” he said.
“They appoint somebody to challenge the legislation effectively and then the Attorney-General advises them on the Constitutionality of it – so they hear from both sides”.
“Then they have up to 60 days to do that, and then they must deliver their verdict in open court and it must be a minimum of 5 Supreme Court judges who meet to discuss this” he added.

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