The Children's Minister is calling for a full repeal of the 8th amendment

Children's Minister Katherine Zappone has ramped up pressure on the Taoiseach to reveal his stance on abortion.

The independent minister told the Dáil this evening that the issue is too important for politicians to "shirk away from their responsibilities".

Minister Zappone said she believes the 8th amendment should be repealed without replacing it with anything in the constitution.

She stated: "It should never be a crime to have an abortion, and doctors should be freed from providing medical care in what [Master of the National Maternity Hospital] Rhona Mahony called 'the shadow of a custodial sentence'.

"As a democrat I accept that there are those who have a deeply held opposing view [...] I respect those views," she added.

Minister Zappone says public representatives should make their positions known.

She observed: "This is a time for political courage, not political cowardice.

"In the coming weeks, the public have a right to hear the view of every member of this House."