Adults with Down Syndrome urged to vote
Up to 7,000 adults with Down Syndrome in the State are being urged to vote in the forthcoming referendum on children’s rights.
Down Syndrome Ireland today published an ’easy-to-read’ guide to the referendum to assist people with intellectual disabilities, and Down Syndrome in particular, to understand the issues being voted on.
David O’Brien, chairman of Down Syndrome Ireland, said a growing number of people with intellectual disabilities were voting in elections and referendums and that families were increasingly aware of the importance of encouraging everyone who was eligible to use their vote.
While he would not advise people which way to vote, he said “there are distinct advantages for children with disabilities and their families if there is a Yes vote on the 10th November”.
The guide, which is available from the charity’s website, is in very straightforward English. It opens:
“On Saturday November 10th you will be asked to vote in a referendum. A referendum is a time when you vote to change a part of the Constitution of Ireland. The Constitution of Ireland sets out the rules of the country. All citizens must obey these rules.”
It goes on to explain what the referendum is about and the four main aspects of the proposed change.
Katie Troy (24) from Co Offaly was at today’s publication.
“I want to vote because I want to express my voice. I want to let people know what I believe. People with disabilities are not expected to vote because people don’t expect people with disabilities to understand the things the vote is for.
“I’m not sure yet how I will vote. I will think a lot about it and I will definitely vote.”
David O’Brien, (22) from Glasnevin in Dublin said voting was important to him.
“It’s all about having a voice and being heard and to let the Government realise what we’re really thinking.
“I think everyone should take our voice seriously. People with disabilities have a voice and people need to understand where we are coming from.”