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Now publish legal advice on referendum to repeal Eighth Amendment, says Murphy

Now publish legal advice on referendum to repeal Eighth Amendment, says Murphy

The Cabinet is thought to favour a "repeal and replace" approach - which would see the public voting on repealing the 8th amendment and inserting a clause into the Constitution that would allow the Oireachtas to legislate for abortion.

"We'll have that referendum hopefully this summer, and we should be in a position to be making a decision on that in government next week".

Both main parties remain divided, however, with many MPs taking different positions on the issue.

The Fine Gael TD told RTE's The Week in Politics: "So I have too much uncertainty in my own head at the moment".

The cabinet will hold a special meeting later today, at which they are expected formally to agree to hold a referendum on the Eighth Amendment, which provides for the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn.

However, his remarks emphasise how the abortion debate is set to divide opinion across Ireland.

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It also proposed that terminations without restriction should be allowed for up to 12 weeks.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced he will campaign for the liberalisation of abortion laws in an upcoming referendum on the issue.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Saturday, Varadkar was asked if he will be campaigning for the current legislation to be relaxed.

Last December, the all party oireachtas committee recommended that the eighth amendment should be repealed.

A referendum on the Eighth Amendment is expected in late May or early June.

It is a view shared by Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald, who support a parliamentary committee's recommendations for unrestricted access to abortion for 12 weeks.