Tánaiste Joan Burton has angered Labour supporters and the general public by using the abortion issue in Ireland as a political play. Burton has remained largely silent on the issue since being named leader of the Labour Party this summer and has now reacted to members of the party calling for her to give Labour a stance on the issue.
Realising that abortion is a political quagmire in Ireland, Burton has asked the public to be patient on the issue until after the next general election when it will be easier for Labour TDs to grow a backbone because they will no longer be sitting in cabinet.
The Tánaiste told reporters yesterday afternoon that, “The abortion issue is a hot topic and one where no political party gains new voters from fighting for it. Right now the Labour Party has a public relations problem and for us to do well in the next election we need to appeal to the voting public. That is why I don’t think it is in our interest to get involved in this issue until we secure another five years in government. Politicians have to think of their future before they can get involved in fighting the oppression of women’s rights in Ireland.”
Her comments were met by a deafening silence and after about fifteen seconds of nothing but cameras clicking, the Tánaiste added, “I guess all the sexually active people in the country will just have to keep their legs crossed until the next general election is over.”
As soon as the words left the Tánaiste’s mouth, her advisors held the hands to their faces. Burton stood at the podium smiling awkwardly and slowly walked out of the room. Many feel that the Labour Party have lied their way into government because they have not held any of the promises from the previous general election. Their silence on the abortion issue has been condemned especially for ignoring the plight of those who are pregnant as the result of rape, those who are suicidal and pregnant, and those who are pregnant with a fatal foetal abnormality.
Tánaiste Burton is expected to keep quiet on the issue until the next general election is called.