The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has given no commitment to proceed with previous plans to ban pro-life gatherings outside facilities that provide abortions.
He was responding to a question from Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns about legislating for protest-exclusion zones.
In a parliamentary response to Ms Cairns, Mr Donnelly said that, while it was originally intended to provide for this in legislation, “a number of legal issues were identified which necessitated further consideration”.
“Since services under the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 commenced in January 2019, there has been a limited number of reports of protests or other actions relating to termination of pregnancy.
“This is an extremely positive development, suggesting that termination of pregnancy services have bedded in relatively smoothly to date and are becoming a normal part of the Irish healthcare system, in line with Government policy.
“However, where problems do arise with protests outside health care services, there is existing public order legislation in place to protect people accessing services, employees working in the service and local residents.”
Separately, it has been reported that Mr Donnelly has started a review into the State’s abortion legislation.
The abortion legislation is due to be reviewed, three years after its passage.