Comments made by Minister Regina Doherty this morning are nothing less than repugnant and disgraceful, and must be withdrawn, Save the 8th has said. Minister Doherty is reported to have said that “Yes campaigners [the Minister herself is a yes campaigner] would not accept a NO vote”; to have refused to rule out a second referendum if there is a NO vote; and to have said that she only held pro-life views at one point because she was “ignorant”.
Commenting, Save the 8th’s Niamh UiBhriain said: “For a Minister in a democratic country to say, in advance of a democratic vote, that she will not accept the result, is nothing less than repugnant, and as far as we know, without precedent.
Let us be clear: The YES campaign is getting the referendum it wanted. It is getting it on the date it wants it, to maximise the student YES vote. It has, predictably, the support of the leaders of every political party, and is working hand in hand with the Government. It has overwhelming support from the media, including some outlets which are actively campaigning. And now voters are being told that their votes will not count, and that they'll be made vote as many times as necessary. This is not democracy. It is not even democracy's third cousin.
These comments are symptomatic of an arrogant and contemptuous political class that treats voters as an obstacle to be overcome rather than people to be heard. And for Minister Doherty to portray pro-life views as “ignorant” is yet more evidence of that. Her comments are insulting and disgraceful. Is this what she thinks of people who have an honest disagreement with her?
Our campaign has been calling on voters to join a rebellion on May 25th – to stand up against an arrogant and overbearing YES campaign that wants Ireland to repeat England’s mistakes, and introduce abortion on demand. Voters who disagree with abortion on demand are not ignorant - they are compassionate and decent people who do not want to see their country repeat our neighbour's mistake.
We are calling on Minister Doherty to apologise for her comments, to withdraw them, and to make it clear that the Government will respect the result of the referendum and not make people vote again and again until they do what they're told."