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No place for “alternative facts” in 8th Amendment Referendum debate

2 February, 2018 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly has called on politicians to be fully informed of the facts when commenting on or debating the upcoming 8th Amendment Referendum.

Teachta O’Reilly said;

“The upcoming Referendum on the 8th Amendment is due to be momentous for Irish society.

“Doubtless the debate and campaign surrounding the 8th Amendment will be hotly contested and fiercely debated

“It is the duty of all politicians to be informed of all the facts surrounding the Referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment. It is not good enough to have a superficial knowledge of the issue.

"If politicians are going to campaign for or against Repeal then they have a duty to be aware of the facts.

“We cannot have situations, as there has been in recent weeks, where politicians make spurious claims only for medical professionals such as Dr Peter Boylan of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists to have to write letters or take to television to clear up these false claims.

“The same goes for campaign groups. They too have a duty of care to deal only in facts when it comes to this debate.

“Similarly, there cannot be a repeat of situations like those during the Oireachtas 8th Amendment Committee when bogus claims were made about the health policies of the Danish and Icelandic Government’s which were only cleared up when I wrote to those Government’s so they could defend themselves and set the record straight.

“For too long this debate has been cheapened with falsehoods and misinformation. This can no longer be the case.

“While I respect that everyone has and opinion, and everyone is entitled to an opinion, nobody should be allowed to spread falsehoods, deliberately or otherwise.

“This Referendum is too serious for us to entertain “alternative facts”, we must all be in full control of the actual facts when it comes to the Repeal Referendum.

“Politicians, campaign groups, and those reporting on the referendum all have a responsibility, as informers and shapers or public opinion, to be in full command of the facts around the debate."

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