DUBLIN : A bill tabled by the Irish government to hold a referendum on the repeal of the country's anti-abortion law was passed here, media reported. According to the report in RTE, the lower house of the Irish parliament passed the bill on Wednesday by 97 votes to 25 after the second stage of debate on the bill, which started on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.
The bill will now be sent to the Senate for a three-day debate beginning March 27, said the report.
According to the game rules of the Irish parliamentary politics, the Senate can not deny any laws passed by the lower house of the Parliament, but it can delay it.
As most of the seats in the Senate are controlled by the ruling party Fine Gael and major opposition parties Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein which both showed strong support for the government-proposed referendum bill, the bill is mostly likely to be passed by the Senate without any serious delay.
During Wednesday's voting at the lower house, two members from Fine Gael, 17 members from Fianna Fail and six independents reportedly voted against the bill. Earlier a member from Sinn Fein was disciplined by the party for her opposition stand on passing the referendum bill in the lower house of the parliament.
A few weeks ago the Irish government tabled a bill to the country's lower house of the parliament, suggesting to hold a referendum at the end of this May to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, an article added into the constitution after a 1983 referendum, which virtually rules abortion illegal in the country.
In the referendum bill, the government also proposed that termination shall be allowed for pregnancy up to 12 weeks.
Earlier on Wednesday, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that no referendum will be held again during the period of the current government if repealing the Eighth Amendment fails in the coming referendum.
On March 10, a massive anti-abortion rally was held in the downtown areas of the Irish capital Dublin, attracting nearly 100,000 supporters, said organisers of the rally.