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‘Yes’ decision welcome – Government must now match words with actions – Ó Caoláin

11 November, 2012 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

The outcome of the Children’s Referendum has been welcomed by Sinn Féin Children’s spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD. He said the Government must now put in place the legislation and the resources needed to vindicate children’s rights.

He said:

“Sinn Féin welcomes the result of the Children’s Referendum. It is a clear endorsement of the amendment to the constitution to strengthen the rights of children.

“The government must now put in place the legislation necessary to give the amendment legal effect. It must also put in place the resources needed to vindicate children’s rights, especially for vulnerable children who require the protection of social services. It needs to match words with actions. We will be holding the government to account on this in the Oireachtas and outside it.

“The low turnout was disappointing and it is doubtful that it would have been any better had it been held on a weekday. For that reason the experiment of Saturday voting should not be dispensed with on the basis of this turnout alone.

“The relatively high ‘No’ vote in working-class communities is significant. I believe it reflects deep mistrust of government and the State as a result of the harsh and futile austerity regime of the Fine Gael/Labour government that is hitting these communities worst.  Opposition to austerity is totally justified and Sinn Féin will continue to lead the battle against it and for an alternative approach based on fairness.

“I take this opportunity to reject utterly the juvenile remarks of Fine Gael junior Minister Shane McEntee, accusing Sinn Féin of speaking out of both sides of our mouths in the referendum. Sinn Féin campaigned for a ‘Yes’ vote and for years we have been calling for children’s rights to be strengthened in the Constitution. I was proud to lead our campaign and we have worked with others across the political spectrum including Deputy McEntee’s senior colleague, the Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald.

“I commend all who campaigned for a ‘Yes’ vote and all who turned out to vote. It is time now to implement the people’s decision.” ENDS

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