Courts left to ‘plug the gap’ in assisted human reproduction law

We need to clarify the Minister for Health and Children’s comment on Tuesday in respect of a commitment on the part of the Government to introduce legislation to regulate assisted human reproduction. The Supreme Court made an extremely important decision in which it again pointed to a failure on the part of the Houses of the Oireachtas to implement legislation in this area. Once again, the Supreme Court has had to plug the gaps outrageously left by us, the legislators. The Government is primarily responsible for introducing legislation in this area.

When decisions such as the Supreme Court ruling of yesterday are made, it is often argued that there are many views and significant disagreement on the issue in question. I anticipate that government members may make the perfectly reasonable argument that assisted human reproduction is a complicated issue. While there are many views on it, the responsibility of legislators is not to sit back and do nothing, as we have done many times when it became clear there were many views on an issue, but to face up to the fact and work out carefully and meticulously, perhaps in committee, how precisely we should legislate. Assisted human reproduction is an important and sensitive issue on which legislation should be introduced at the earliest possible time.