Sinn Féin TD suspended over abortion vote

Dáil Éireann Image copyright Dáil Éireann
Image caption The bill to allow a referendum was passed by 97 votes to 25.

A Sinn Féin TD has been suspended from the party for three months after voting against the bill which will allow the Irish abortion referendum.

The bill was passed by 97 votes to 25 in the Dáil (Irish parliament) on Wednesday evening.

Carol Nolan was among those who voted against it.

Voters will decide if they want to make changes to Ireland's strict abortion laws, upheld in the Eighth Amendment of the country's constitution.

The piece of legislation, which grants an equal right to life to the unborn and pregnant women in the Republic of Ireland, was introduced in 1983.

It effectively bans abortion in most cases.

'Personal convictions'

In a statement, Sinn Féin said it was party policy to support repealing the Eighth Amendment and to campaign in a referendum to achieve that objective.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said Ms Nolan held "strong personal convictions on the matter".

"At all stages, the party has acknowledged and respected her views and her right to articulate those views," she said.

"However, Sinn Féin elected representatives are expected to respect policy decisions taken by the Ard Fheis and to vote in line with party policy.

"All Sinn Féin elected representatives, including members of the Oireachtas, are aware of this.

"Carol is a valued colleague and I very much regret this turn of events.

"However, as legislators we have a responsibility to vote as we are mandated by long standing Sinn Féin policy, a policy which we strongly believe is in the best interests of women."

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