SINN Fein Councillor Sheamus Greene has criticised what he says is “abortion on demand” after the Republic of Ireland voted overwhelmingly last week to reform its strict abortion laws.
The Erne East representative’s view significantly differs from the view of most of his party, including Fermanagh-south Tyrone MLA Jemma Dolan who said the historic referendum result was “momentous for all of the people of Ireland.”
The public decided by a landslide [two to one] to repeal part of the state’s constitution which effectively prohibits the procedure unless a mother’s life is endangered.
Crowds in Dublin chanted the name of the Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar whose death after she was refused a termination while miscarrying electrified an emotive revolution in social attitudes.
But Councillor Greene rejected the decision, saying “everything was stacked in favour of yes.”
“Abortion on demand is basically what has been agreed in the south. 
“I have always supported the party [Sinn Fein] but in this particular case it’s not a view you can change because your party says so. 
“I know there’s a lot of members who have the same view,” he said.
Sinn Fein leaders Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill believe the Irish law should apply to women from Northern Ireland, with Ms. McDonald saying the days of exiling women in the most tragic circumstances were over.
Councillor Greene says he could never agree to any changes to the law here. 
“I would be very reluctant to ever, ever agree that that is the right thing to do.
“That’s the party policy, as far as they are concerned I just cannot agree on that particular issue. There was a quarter of Sinn Fein voters who voted no, in the exit poll, they are Sinn Fein voters too. I would never try to change somebody’s belief nor should anyone try to change mine,” he said.
He criticised politicians in the Republic of Ireland who he said have changed their mind on this issue and gone “with whatever way the wind is blowing at that particular time.”
Asked if his party is wrong on this issue, Councillor Greene said: “That could be a loaded question.”
“I am talking from a minority because obviously at the minute I think I am right. The party thinks they are right as well, I think I am right.”
Councillor Greene said he had no concerns about speaking out against party policy, saying it was an “extremely sensitive issue” and pointing out that not all members are in agreement. 
Sinn Fein MLA for the area Jemma Dolan said it is a “delicate issue” and admitted that members in Fermanagh have had “a number of open and honest discussions” about it. 
Sinn Fein members will have an opportunity to debate its policies the party’s Ard Fheis in Belfast next month.
“There is a cultural shift in our country and a new and better Ireland is emerging,” said Miss Dolan.
She believes the result of the referendum “highlights how much we, in the north, are being held back particularly when it comes to rights based issues such as language rights, same-sex marriage and women’s health.”
“Our abortion laws in the north are unsustainable and a denial of rights to women. 
“This is a devolved issue but as a party, we will be seeking guarantees on abortion access for women living in the north in the absence of a functioning Assembly,” she said. 
The vote was 66.4 per cent to 33.6 per cent in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment to the constitution, which effectively outlawed abortions.
The only constituency to vote no, narrowly, was nearby County Donegal.