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Dundalk could be come the abortion capital of Ireland due to influx from Northern Ireland

Dundalk could be come the abortion capital of Ireland due to influx from Northern Ireland

Dundalk could soon become one of the abortion capitals of Ireland.

That’s because women from Northern Ireland may soon be able to travel south of the border to have abortions when new laws are introduced following the repeal of the Eighth Amendment in last week’s referendum.

Given Dundalk’s proximity to the North, it is expected that many women looking to avail of abortions in the Republic would travel here to have them.

Speaking yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he could not imagine why women from Northern Ireland would not be able to receive treatment for crisis pregnancies, when Northern Irish people can already access healthcare in the Republic.

The referendum result in the Republic, which saw two-thirds of people vote for abortion to be introduced here, has kicked off a campaign in the North fighting for it to be allowed there also. A rally has already been planned for this coming Monday in Belfast.

Abortions are outlawed in nearly all cases in Northern Ireland. Once legislation is passed in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland will be the only part of the UK or Ireland where prohibition is maintained.

“We do have people who already come to our hospitals from Northern Ireland for healthcare so I imagine it will be treated as a normal part of our health service,” Mr Varadkar said.

But he added it would have to be examined as legislators draft a bill in the coming months.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin called on the Government to ensure women in Northern Ireland can access abortion services in GP surgeries and hospitals here.

“It’s our obligation and mandate to ensure the passage of this legislation because of the urgency of the issue for many women in our society,” Mr Martin said.

It is likely to be January before the new law comes into effect for abortions to be permitted here.

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