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Abortion referendum has no impact on law of Northern Ireland: Arlene Foster


Arlene Foster (Yui Mok/PA)

Arlene Foster (Yui Mok/PA)

Press Association Images

Arlene Foster (Yui Mok/PA)

DUP leader Arlene Foster has said the result of the Republic's referendum on abortion has no impact on the law of Northern Ireland.

The landslide victory for the Yes side in Friday's vote paves the way for the introduction of legislation on abortion in the Republic.

In a statement on Sunday, Mrs Foster said: "Friday’s referendum has no impact upon the law in Northern Ireland, but we obviously take note of issues impacting upon our nearest neighbour.

"A referendum was held in the Republic of Ireland because of the constitutional prohibition on abortion that existed there. No such constitutional bar exists in Northern Ireland.

"The legislation governing abortion is a devolved matter and it is for the Northern Ireland Assembly to debate and decide such issues.  Some of those who wish to circumvent the Assembly’s role may be doing so simply to avoid it’s decision.

"The DUP is a pro-life party and we will continue to articulate our position. It is an extremely sensitive issue and not one that should have people taking to the streets in celebration.

"I want to see the Northern Ireland Assembly restored and put no preconditions on the immediate establishment of an Executive. Some of those demanding change are the same people blocking devolution or demanding that Westminster change the law whilst simultaneously opposing Direct Rule."

On Sunday, Sinn Fein's leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O'Neill said Northern Ireland was becoming a "backwater" on a number of rights-based issues, but that she would want it to be a devolved assembly which legislates on abortion.

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald said she did not want Westminster to legislate on abortion in Northern Ireland, and she believed women from Northern Ireland would be able to travel to the Republic to access abortions.

Belfast Telegraph