Almost 25,000 Irish women travelled to Britain for an abortion in four years from 2010-2014

Almost 25,000 Irish women travelled to Britain for an abortion in four years from 2010-2014

Almost 25,000 Irish women travelled to Britain for abortions between 2010 and 2014.

Over the four-year period, thousands of women who gave Irish addresses - both in the North and the Republic - flew to clinics in England and Wales to have the procedure, which is illegal in Ireland.

The figures, released today by Belfast-based journalism project Detail Data, show the high levels of “abortion tourism” among Irish women.

“The Northern Ireland and Irish Governments don’t mind women having abortions just as long as they’re not here in Ireland,” said Northern Ireland Amnesty campaigner Gráinne Teggart of the news.

“Abortions not being lawful doesn’t mean that women don’t have abortions. It means that they either resort to desperate measures or they seek those services elsewhere.”

The data shows that the 20-24 age bracket was the most common age for women seeking abortions in Britain last year - but this fluctuates.

The Marie Stopes clinic in Manchester, on Wynnstay Grove in the south of the city, accounts for almost a third of the total abortions of Irish women, while the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) in Merseyside was the second most visited clinic.

In total, 7,182 visited the Manchester clinic over the four-year period; while 4,143 went to Merseyside for an abortion, which can cost between £400 and £1,500 depending on the clinic.

The vast majority of the 25,000 terminations took place in Manchester - a total of 11, 116.

Liverpool also saw high numbers of women - 4,462 availing of the service while 3,267 women travelled to London for an abortion.

Abortion is currently outlawed in Ireland – except in extreme circumstances allowed for by the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013.

Both the pro-life and pro-choice sides have been vocal in expressing their views ahead of next year’s general election.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has promised to review Ireland’s stance on abortion if re-elected to his office.