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  • Writer's picturePippa Hackett

Vote Yes Yes and Be Fully Informed


It’s with great disappointment, but not a surprise, that I find myself as the only strong political representative in Offaly calling for a Yes Yes vote in the referendums to be held on Friday 8th March.



 

Unfortunately, a No vote from Offaly will send a strong signal across Ireland that the county remains in the rigid and conservative mindset of Archbishop John Charles McQuaid from 1937 when he co-authored Bunreacht na hÉireann, the Constitution of Ireland. Dark days for women indeed, when pregnancy was enforced, a ring on your finger meant you gave up public work, and pregnancy outside of marriage meant incarceration.

 


Of the Offaly based Oireachtas representatives, Independent TD Carol Nolan, is advocating for a No vote in both the Family and the Care referendums, basing her campaign on fear of the unknown.

 

Barry Cowen TD hasn’t mounted a campaign at all, managing nothing more than a lacklustre nod for a Yes vote in both referendums.

 

A Yes vote in the Family referendum will broaden Constitutional protection to different family types, other than those founded on marriage. It will deliver a Constitution which is reflective of life in Ireland today - where 43% of children are born outside of marriage, and 85% of lone parents are women. Deputy Nolan does not have the right to tell these parents or these children that they are not real families.

 

For those of us for whom the institution of marriage remains important, the amended Constitution will continue to recognise marriage as an institution that the State must guard and protect, as it should.

 

Deputy Nolan continues to say that a Yes vote in the Care referendum will mean ‘no special recognition at all for women or mothers in the Constitution’.

 


When in reality a majority Yes vote in the Care referendum, will actually remove sexist language from our Constitution; language which for too long has ascribed certain duties for women, should they become mothers - in the home. We all know that this is not reflective of today’s Ireland.


Women will continue to receive specific mention in the Constitution on two occasions.

 

The current language places mothers apart from their male counterparts, fathers, ascribing them a duty that fathers do not have. This is not the ‘special recognition’ I aspire to for myself or my daughters.

 

I am in favour of women having the right to make choices over their own destinies, while my Oireachtas colleague, Deputy Nolan, repeatedly shows she is not.

 

Women, mothers or not, should be free to decide for themselves where their place is.


Our Constitution should value the care they choose to give, but also value the care given by fathers, siblings, and grandparents. And the State should strive to support this care. That is what the new wording in the Care referendum will enable.






There is nothing to fear from two Yes votes on Friday, which will align our Constitution with the modern Ireland of the 21st Century, and not keep it back in the dark ages of the 1930s. 


Please exercise your right to vote and show Ireland that Offaly stands for progress, inclusion and equality.


Please note:

Both proposed amendments to the Constitution have cross party support and broad Non Governmental Organisation support: I am including links to some of these BELOW, which outline their position and also the website of the Electoral Commission which provides impartial information on what we are being asked to vote on.


Above all else, I ask that you inform yourself and vote on Friday 8th March.



The Disability Federation of Ireland, DFI will be supporting a yes vote in the Family Referendum and will not be taking a voting position on the Care Referendum taking place on 8 March.





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