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Molloy to remain in SF despite opposing party abortion stance.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Molloy to remain in SF despite opposing party abortion stance. thumbnailFrancie Molloy MP.

MID-ULSTER Sinn Fein MP Francie Molloy says he will not be leaving the party despite opposing its newly-adopted stance on abortion.

At the party's ard fheis in Dublin, Mr Molloy spoke out against the motion which supported allowing greater access to terminations.

He said the policy, which received the backing of a majority of delegates, was akin to "abortion on demand", but he wouldn't be following the footsteps of former Limavady Councillor Anne Brolly, who left the party over the matter.

"I don't like it and agree with it and that's the position we have made and everybody has to live with that," said Mr Molloy, who has been MP for Mid-Ulster for a little under five years.

"I put my position and reflected what I saw as Mid Ulster grass roots.

"The vote has been taken and decision made and the party have to live with them and explain them fully.

"It's important to keep in touch with the grassroots and realise these decisions can be taken in isolation.

"It's very easy to pass a motion in the heat of an ard fheis - it's different when you are on doorsteps and people don't see the logic for it." Sinn Fein also rejected a motion that would have allowed a "conscience vote" on the issue.

Mr Molloy said the ard fheis was pitched as both "progressive and historical".

"But I think it was hysterical, particularly by people gloating on the position [taken on abortion]," he said.

"I saw a danger in that I did not like." Mr Molloy's position is at odds to his party's northern leader, Michelle O'Neill, an MLA for Mid-Ulster, who voted in favour of extending access to abortion.

It is not the first time Mr Molloy has found himself in disagreement with the party, having been suspended in 2005 after expressing his opposition to Sinn Fein's stance on the review of public administration, which saw the number of Councils across Northern Ireland greatly reduced.

At that point, Sinn Fein was advocating reducing the number of Councils to seven from 26, with Mr Molloy, then a member of the Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council, expressing a preference for 15. Ultimately, the final number was right in the middle, with 11 new 'supercouncils' coming into being in 2015.

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