Repealing the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution instead of replacing it with a revised version will leave too much uncertainty around Ireland's future laws on abortion, a minister of state has warned.
Speaking in Dublin tonight, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "We know that thousands of Irish women - from every county in Ireland - go overseas for abortions every year".
The Government is set to imminently outline proposals to amend abortion laws if the Eighth Amendment were to fall in the referendum, potentially paving the way for a dramatic liberalisation of the current position. Kerrigan said: "It is imperative that young people and students are given the opportunity to vote on the eighth amendment".
The Fine Gael-led administration is meeting on Monday to discuss the terms of the referendum to abolish the eighth amendment of the Irish constitution.
"I believe Ireland's abortion laws are too restrictive and need to be liberalized", Varadkar said in an interview with BBC radio on Saturday.
It is likely the Cabinet will agree to the Health Minister Simon Harris' request to draft legislation that would allow abortion to take place here during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
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Terminations are now only allowed in the Irish Republic when the life of the mother is at risk and the maximum penalty for accessing an illegal abortion is 14 years in prison.
Meanwhile, members of the Social Democrats party are calling on the Attorney General to publish his advice on the wording of the referendum as soon as possible.
Currently, abortion is illegal in the Irish Republic even in cases of rape and incest.
It is anticipated the Taoiseach will back calls for repeal and support the 12-week unrestricted abortion recommendation.
A referendum on the contentious issue is expected in late May or early June. The then Minister for Health Varadker said: "I consider myself to be pro-life in that I accept the unborn child is a human life with rights".