Introduction

In 1999, the Fianna Fail / PD coalition government, which was in power since 1997, invited members of the public and interested parties to write submissions on the issue of abortion. 105,000 submissions were made. The text of the Green Paper on Abortion was decided by a Cabinet Committee established to oversee the work of an Interdepartmental Working Group whose task was to carry out the preparatory work on the Green Paper.

The Cabinet Committee was chaired by Mr Brian Cowen T.D., Minister for Health and Children and the other members were Ms Mary O'Rourke, T.D, Minister for Public Enterprise, Mr John O'Donoghue T.D., Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr David Byrne S.C., Attorney General (up to July, 1999), Mr Michael McDowell S.C., Attorney General (from July, 1999) and Ms Liz O'Donnell T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Green Paper on Abortion was published on March 30th 1999.

The Green Paper on Abortion was referred to the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution by the Government in September 1999.

The Committee comprised of Mr. Brian Lenihan T.D. FF, Chairman; Mr. Jim O'Keeffe T.D. FG, Vice-Chairman; Mr. Brendan Daly, T.D. FF; Sen John Dardis PD; Mr. Thomas Enright, T.D. FG; Mr. Seamus Kirk, T.D. FF; Mr. Derek McDowell, T.D. Lab; Ms Marian McGennis T.D. FF; Ms Liz McManus, T.D. Lab; Sen. Denis O'Donovan, F.F.; Sen Fergus O'Dowd, FG; Sen Kathleen O'Meara, Lab.

This Committee invited interested parties to give an Oral Submission which comprised of each party giving a general overview of their position and then answering questions from members of the Committee. This process was held in May and June 2000.

Subsequently, they published the 5th Progress Report on Abortion in November 2000 which included their conclusions and a transcript of the oral submissions. They then produced this report to the Government.

The Commission for Assisted Human Reproduction was established by the government in March 2000 and they produced a Report in March 2006.

   

Green Paper on Abortion: 1999

The authors of the Green Paper on abortion were an Interdepartmental Working Group, not to be confused with the All Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution, who previously published recommendations in regard to abortion - specifically that abortion could not be dealt with by amendment as no suitable wording could be found and that the Government should introduce legislation in line with the X case.

The Working Group on abortion were: Brian Cowen TD, Minister for Health, Fianna Fail (Chairman); John O’Donoghue, Minister for Justice, Fianna Fail; Mary O’Rourke, Fianna Fail; Liz O’Donnell, P.D’s; David Byrne, Attorney General

In practice this Group drew on the expertise of various individuals from several departments which is to say the Civil Service wrote their report. A Green Paper is essentially a discussion document which will list all the available options as well as the background to those options and arguments for and against. It is not itself a recommendation though it is likely that it will favour one particular course of action above the others.

  

Submissions to the APOCC: 2000

The Green Paper on Abortion was referred to the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution by the Government in September 1999.

This Committee invited interested parties to give an Oral Submission which comprised of each party giving a general overview of their position and then answering questions from members of the Committee. This process was held in May, June and July 2000.

Members of the All Party Committee in 1999 / 2000 were:

Brian Lenihan TD, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Dublin North West; Jim O'Keeffe TD, Fine Gael, Cork South West; Brendan Daly TD, Fianna Fáil, Clare; Sen John Dardis Senator, PD's, Kildare; Thomas Enright TD, Fine Gael, Laois/Offaly; Seamus Kirk TD, Fianna Fáil, Louth; Derek McDowell TD, Labour, Dublin North Central; Marian McGennis TD, Fianna Fáil, Dublin Central; Liz McManus TD, Labour, Wicklow; Sen Denis O'Donovan, Fianna Fáil, Cork; Sen Fergus O'Dowd, Fine Gael, Louth; Sen Kathleen O'Meara, Labour Tipperary

   

5th Progress Report : 2000

The Green Paper on Abortion was referred to the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution by the government in September 1999.

The 5th Progress Report: Abortion was not a comprehensive analysis of the matters discussed in the Green Paper. It was a political assessment of certain questions which arose from it in the context of the submissions the APOCC had received and the hearings they conducted.

It was published in late 2000.