The Irish Times – Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DEAGLÁN de BRÉADÚN, Political Correspondent

MEMBERS OF the medical, legal and nursing professions are to sit on a 14-member expert group being set up to address the outcome of last year’s European Court of Human Rights ruling on abortion rights in Ireland.

Minister for Health James Reilly received approval at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting to establish the group. It will be in place by the end of the year or shortly thereafter and will have six months to deliver a report to Government.

The European Court ruled last December that the State had failed to implement existing rights to lawful abortion where a mother’s life is at risk. The court found the State violated the rights of a woman with cancer who said she was forced to travel abroad to obtain an abortion.

The programme for government pledged to “establish an expert group to address this issue, drawing on appropriate medical and legal expertise with a view to making recommendations to Government”. As required under the procedures of the court, the Government submitted an action plan last June, outlining its intention to set up the expert group.

Also at yesterday’s meeting, Taoiseach Enda Kenny received approval for the establishment of an interdepartmental committee on European engagements as a subcommittee of the Cabinet.

Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton is expected to play a prominent role on this committee, which will monitor and co-ordinate the Government’s involvement with EU institutions.