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DUBLIN, April 29, 2013 ( – A pair of TDs admitted to an undercover pro-life activist that the bill currently waiting passage in the Irish parliament legalising “limited” abortion is only the beginning, and that the ultimate goal is a fully liberalised abortion regime like that of the UK.

A report by the Irish Independent published this weekend quotes Aodhan O’Riordain, a TD with the openly abortion-campaigning Labour Party, who said that legislating for abortion based on the infamous X Case is only a wedge to force open the door.

O’Riordain, who did not know his comments were being recorded, said the current bill legislating on the X Case is just “a starting point”. “Once you get that,” he said, “then you can move.”

He added that deceiving the public on the government’s real intentions is part of the plan. “Of course if I’m on the radio and somebody says to me, ‘It’s a starting point for abortion on demand,’ I'm gonna say, ‘No, of course it isn't – it is what it is.’”

The plan was confirmed by Wicklow TD Anne Ferris, also with Labour, who said, “We will legislate certainly for what the European Court has told us to and then we can go further than that . . . we get the first part done and then we will go on to the next bit.”

“People aren’t going to vote Fianna Fail back into power again, so I would say then next term it will happen,” Ferris added.

O’Riordain said, “I think the ABC case or X case wouldn’t do too much . . . but once you have established a principle then we will get there over time. But I’ll say this much, it’s never going to happen unless Labour are in Government. It just wouldn't happen.” He added that the party is “100 per cent” committed to full abortion legalisation. 

The two were covertly recorded last June by an unnamed woman on her mobile phone. The woman told the Independent that she had led the two Labour TDs into a discussion on abortion because it is in the “public interest” to reveal the “duplicitousness” of politicians on the issue of abortion.

She told the Independent, “They are public representatives. And I think if a public representative is saying one thing in public but reassuring a select group of activists who support them on (that) one issue in private . . . that is something that is of massive concern and that’s something that the public needs to know about.”

The paper said that an independent expert confirmed there was no evidence that the recordings “had been edited or otherwise interfered or tampered with in any way.” The paper added that the “revelations will undoubtedly lead to more pressure to oppose the X case legislation.”

In the 1992 X Case, the Supreme Court ruled that one of the “life threatening” conditions that would justify the direct killing of an unborn child is a threat of suicide. At the time, pro-life advocates defending the law warned that this concession to the abortion agenda would be the first crack in the dam that would eventually lead to a flood. The government brought forward legislation in response to a 2010 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that said in the A, B and C Case that the Irish government must “clarify” under what circumstances a woman has a “right” to a legal abortion.

Niamh Uí Bhriain, head of the Life Institute, told that the sting reveals the Labour Party are “willing to deceive the voting public on a matter of life and death.”

“It’s no secret that Labour want to legalise abortion based on the British model – which is abortion on demand – but they like to present themselves in debate as seeking only ‘limited abortion’ – and they’ve been caught out on that deception now,” she said.

The Labour leader, Eamon Gilmore, was forthright about his party’s intentions during the last election. In January 2011, Gilmore told a radio interviewer that the Irish parliament must “face up to its responsibilities” and make abortion fully legal according to the English model. A year later, the party was pushing hard, using the media-generated uproar over the death of Savita Halappanavar, for the current bill.

O’Riordain added on the recording that the government-appointed Expert Group, which advised the legislation for legalisation, was intended to provide an excuse for 76 Fine Gael TDs for whom voting in favour of abortion would be “political suicide”.

The Expert Group, he said, “is the way to do that – do you know what I mean? Because they can say, ‘Well, the expert group told us to do it.’”

As to the willingness of the TDs to deceive the public, Uí Bhriain pointed to a claim by the party in the last election that said they had no policy on legalising abortion. She quoted a letter from Labour TD Joe Costello who told a constituent, “Our programme for government has no mention of abortion.”

She said the “sneering attitude” of the Labour TDs towards the pro-life majority in Ireland “has been very damaging for a party that has sunk to almost rock-bottom in the current opinion polls.”

“Irish people do not want abortion legalised and Fine Gael are on a kamikaze mission allowing Labour to push them around on this issue,” Uí Bhriain said.

The Labour Party distanced itself from Ferris’ statements, saying they were “her personal views.” “It was in the party’s manifesto and in the Programme for Government that we would legislate for the X Case, and that is the party’s position,” a spokesman told the Independent.