The polling date could be known today

The Tánaiste has denied doing a u-turn on abortion.

It follows Simon Coveney's decision to back unrestricted terminations up to 12 weeks into pregnancy after initial reservations.

Mr Coveney has been accused of a flip-flop by anti-abortion campaigners, but says he makes no apologies for thinking through the issue in as much detail as he has.

He also claims his concerns are reflected by many others around the country.

Yesterday Cabinet approved the draft laws they would try to bring in IF the 8th Amendment is repealed.

Minister Coveney says they've allayed his fears.

"I don't categorise it as a u-turn at all - I couldn't support the 12 weeks proposal unless it was accompanied with what we got yesterday now from the Minister for Health, which is a very strict and detailed protocol which involves a lot more time for consideration."

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We’ll likely find out the date of the abortion referendum today.

The Seanad is expected to pass the final stages of the referendum bill later.

May 25th had been suggested as the probable date for the public to go to the polls.

But Mr Coveney has suggested it could happen a week earelier than expected.

"Once the legislation passes through the Seanad we'll be able to announce a date at that stage.

"There are two possible dates that we're looking at towards the end of May.

"Not necessarily the last Friday - it could be the second last Friday".