Sinn Féin TD suspended for not voting in line with party policy on Eighth Amendment
"We have a responsibility to vote as we are mandated by a policy which we strongly believe is in the best interests of women."
Sinn Féin TD Carol Nolan has been suspended from her party for three months for voting against legislation that would allow a referendum on the Eighth Amendment.
The Offaly TD was informed of her suspension by whip Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD after the second stage of the Bill passed through the Dáil on Wednesday, 21 March.
TDs voted in favour of the Bill by 110 to 32, with Nolan being the only member of her party to vote against it.
In a statement which emphasised that it was a longstanding policy of Sinn Féin to support the repeal of the Amendment, party leader Mary Lou McDonald said: "People across society have deep and sincerely held views on the Eighth Amendment. I recognise and respect that fact.
"Carol holds strong, personal convictions on this matter. At all stages, the party has acknowledged and respected her views and her right to articulate those views.
"However, Sinn Féin elected representatives are expected to respect policy decisions taken by the Ard Fheis and to vote in line with party policy. All Sinn Féin elected representatives, including members of the Oireachtas, are aware of this.
"Carol is a valued colleague and I very much regret this turn of events. However, as legislators, we have a responsibility to vote as we are mandated by long-standing Sinn Féin policy, a policy which we strongly believe is in the best interests of women."
The vote also drew some surprise after 20 Fianna Fáil TDs voted in favour of the bill, which will put to a public vote whether or to repeal the Eighth Amendment, while the other 21 voted in opposition.
All seven Labour TDs voted in favour of the bill, while two Fine Gael TDs and eight Independent TDs voted in opposition.
The committee stage of the debate is to begin after 7pm and will likely conclude at 11pm.
The bill is expected to pass all stages in the Dáil by Thursday, 22 March.