Expert Group to examine abortion ruling

The Government has established an Expert Group to examine the A, B and C v Ireland judgment of the European Court of Human Rights.

This held  that Ireland had violated a woman’s right to privacy under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights by failing to provide an accessible and effective procedure by which she could establish whether she qualifies for a legal abortion under current Irish law.

The Expert Group is to report back to Government within six months with options on how to implement the judgment of the European Courts.

The European Court held there is no right for women to an abortion in Ireland, emphasising that there is no straightforward right to an abortion under the Convention, and that member states have a broad margin of appreciation to prohibit abortion.  However, given the violation of applicant C’s right to privacy, the result is that Ireland may have to further clarify whether and under which circumstances an abortion may be performed to save the life of a pregnant woman.

On January 13, 2012, Ireland  informed the Ministers of the Council of Europe that the Expert Group has been established.

The Expert Group will be chaired by Justice Mr Sean Ryan and consist of the following 13 members:

  • Dr Peter Boylan, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
  • Dr Mary Holohan, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
  • Dr Imelda Ryan, Psychiatrist,
  • Dr Ailish Ni Riain, General Practitioner
  • Dr Mark Walsh, General Practitioner
  • Ms Christine O’Rourke, Office of the Attorney General
  • Ms Mary O’Toole, Senior Counsel
  • Ms Joanelle O’Cleirigh, Solicitor
  • Ms Denise Kirwin, Solicitor
  • Dr. Deirdre Madden, Medical Council
  • Dr Maura Pidgeon, An Bord Altranais
  • Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health
  • Mr Bernard Carey, Assistant Secretary, Department of Health
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