20th February 2002
Sinn Fein launch campaign for a No vote
Sinn Fein spokesperson on the Referendum, Mary Lou McDonald has accused the government of once again abjectly failing the electorate by rushing through a referendum without adequate debate. Speaking at a press conference today where Sinn Fein launched its campaign for a No vote Ms McDonald said:
``Sinn Fein is opposed to the 25th Amendment to the Constitution because we believe that the government's proposals do not adequately address or resolve the complex issues which are involved. The proposals:
- Do not have due regard to the equal right to life of the mother
- Seek to overturn the Supreme Court judgement in the 'X Case' and therefore eliminate suicide as a ground for access to abortion;
- Will criminalise women who, for whatever desperate reasons, choose the option of abortion;
- Are possibly unconstitutional. If the amendment is passed, the Oireachtas will be required to pass legislation which it cannot amend without a further referendum. This runs the risk of further legal action and another referendum;
Sinn Fein has long argued that the constitution is not the appropriate place to deal with the complex issue of abortion. Sinn Fein supports the introduction of legislation to implement the Supreme Court decision in the X case.
``Sinn Fein will be approaching this referendum in much the same way as we approached the Treaty of Nice campaign. We will be engaging with the electorate on the doorsteps in the course of canvassing for the general election.
``Indeed it has become evident from the returns that we are getting on the doorsteps to date that once again that there has been a failure on behalf of the government to encourage and allow a properly informed debate. We have already seen senior members of the government engaging in scaremongering tactics to further confuse the arguements. It would appear that their campaign has so far has only served to cause maximum confusion on the issue.
``The government has a duty to facilitate a rationale debate on all issues. Party political interests must be set aside to ensure that maximum information is available so that properly informed decisions can be reached.
``The government tried and failed to hoodwink the electorate on the Treaty of Nice. Their attitude to this referendum and the dishonest manner in which they are engaging in the debate will ensure that they will fail again.''
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