The following statement was issued by Gaelic Athletes for a NO vote at their launch today, in Ballyfermot, Dublin.
The group also plans to issue a series of videos from well known GAA players over the coming month, in which the players will give their reasons for voting NO.
The launch was attended by: Joe Sheridan (Meath), Patrick Gallagher (Antrim), Aoife Cassidy (Derry, All Ireland Camogie winning Captain), AnneMarie McDonagh (Galway Ladies Football) and Micky Harte (Tyrone Manager).
“The mission statement in the GA's Strategic Plan assures us that "We actively seek to engage with and include all members of our society. "
The GA's vision is "that everyone be welcome to participate fully in our games and culture, that they thrive and develop their potential, and be inspired to keep a lifelong engagement with our Association."
Many young men and women are wondering how to vote
The GAA insists that there is a place for everybody in our Association, regardless of ability, or disability, regardless of background, regardless of race.
We are an inclusive organisation. There is a space for everybody at our table.
Sport is a place where people come together to test themselves, to strive for greatness, to fulfil their potential, and to express their unique gifts as part of a team.
Working together, we become one team, one society, one nation, and one human race.
Those are our principles – inclusiveness, compassion, respect, dignity, teamwork.
In keeping with those principles, we are coming together today to ask the Irish people to vote NO on May 25th.
The proposal the Government has put forward is not inclusive. It specifically seeks to exclude one group of people, the unborn, from our society. It strips them of rights, it declares that they are not on our team.
The proposal is not compassionate. It would allow abortions up to six months of gestation. It would allow healthy babies, of healthy mothers, to be killed for any reason.
The proposal is not respectful. It would compel hospital porters, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists to take part in abortions even if they believe, in the deepest pits of their being, that they were being asked to do something terribly wrong.
The proposal strips away our dignity. It asks us to condone abortion not just in the difficult cases, but for healthy children, for any reason. These children will not get a coffin, or a burial, or a funeral. They will be treated as if they did not exist.
Finally, the proposal fails the test of teamwork. This is a society of people of many talents, with boundless potential and vast resources. If we work together, we can come up with a better solution than to cast away the rights of our unborn children and call it a solution. We can, and we must, do better.
Many young men and women are wondering how to vote. We ask them, before they do, to look at the values of our society, and to look at the country we live in today. We value everybody in our organisation, from the brightest stars to the child with a disability. We value them because we are a caring and compassionate society that says that every one of us has the right to fulfil our potential.
We respect and cherish women. We support them, and we believe that as a society, we have much more, so much more, to offer our women than the death of their children.
We’re asking people to vote NO.”