Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Ireland's abortion law to be challenged

Today, the European Court of Human Rights based in Strasbourg, will hear a case concerning two Irish women, and one resident Lithuanian national woman, who claim that Ireland's abortion laws violates the European Convention on Human Rights.

Ireland's concerns regarding abortion was one of the key reasons that they voted 'no' in the first Lisbon Treaty referendum. It was precisely these key issues that led Brian Cowen, Taoiseach of Ireland, to seek 'clarification' in order to secure a 'yes' in the second vote.

The clarification only relates to the EU though, the ECHR belongs to an entirely different European organisation; the Council of Europe, so despite being neutral, Ireland is beginning to understand what it's like to fight a war on two fronts.

What's intriguing though, is that cases can only be brought to the Court after domestic remedies have been exhausted and the Irish government's defense is that this has not happened, as highlighted in the Irish times last week;
The Government, however, contends that domestic legal remedies have not been exhausted by the women.
So will the court take on the case, and if so what's the validity of the decision to bypass domestic courts and will this set a precedent?

Certainly an interesting one to keep an eye on.

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