Coalition 'arrogant' over referendum
The Government has been accused of displaying arrogance and inexperience in its approach to the children’s referendum by the leader of Fianna Fáil.
Expressing disappointment with the Government’s approach to preparing information material, Micheál Martin stressed that his party wanted to see the amendment passed.
“I am concerned about the Supreme Court ruling in the sense that the Government should have been much more careful in terms of the presentation of the material.
“I have experience myself of directing the second Lisbon referendum as director of elections and I was absolutely punctilious in terms of ensuring that any material that emanated from us did not contain advocacy.
“It was clearly in accordance with the McKenna Judgment: governments cannot use taxpayers’ money to promote one side of the argument in a referendum.
“So I’m very, very disappointed. The Government was probably too arrogant in terms of its approach and didn’t read the signs well in my view.
Mr Martin suggested that the problem may have arisen because of the inexperience of the Government but said the requirements of the McKenna judgment had been known for quite some time.
"You have to be absolutely straight in adhering to those principles."
Mr Martin said he hoped the Supreme Court ruling would not damage voter sentiment in relation to the referendum and added he believed there was strong support for it.
"I have been on the doorsteps meeting with people, explaining it to them and I think there are lessons to be learnt in this, really that governments just accept the Supreme Court decision, accepting what the courts are saying and just adhering to the principles that are laid down."