Taoiseach confirms abortion laws will come into effect by New Year's Day
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Taoiseach confirms abortion laws will come into effect by New Year's Day

ABORTION laws will not come into effect in Ireland until early 2019, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirms.

Speaking this morning, Varadkar said it will be the 1st of January 2019 before new abortion laws take effect.

The announcement came after the Cabinet gave Health Minister Simon Harris approval to draft the new laws.

Varadkar warned that trying to change current legislation in the meantime may only delay the overall bill from passing.

He explained: "We will need clinical guidelines as well, and it will be necessary to regulate and licence the new medicines.

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"It's still our anticipation that it will be the end of the year, 1st of January 2019, before we have fully given effect to the will of the people, even with the best intentions."

Also today, several politicians called for the Dáil to sit during the summer recess in order to speed up the passage of the legislation.

Addressing calls for an extended Dáil sitting, the Taoiseach said: "Yes, we are in agreement with your suggestion that if necessary the Dáil be extended into the [summer] recess to allow that matter - that matter alone - to be legislated for."

A draft of the new legislation on abortion is expected to be brought before the Dail ahead of the summer recess period.