Abortion: Fianna Fáil TD criticises Yes campaign posters

Sinn Féin says Peadar Tóibín will not be disciplined for campaigning for No vote

Sinn Féin TDs Pearse Doherty and Louise O’Reilly with deputy leader Michelle O’Neill and party leader Mary Lou McDonald at the launch of the party’s Repeal the Eighth campaign. Photograph:Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Fianna Fáil TD Mary Butler has criticised posters advocating a Yes vote in the forthcoming referendum for failing to mention the word abortion.

Ms Butler confirmed she is actively canvassing for a No vote in the referendum on the Eighth Amendment, which places the life of the unborn on an equal footing to the life of the mother.

The Waterford deputy is going door to door, speaking at public meetings and also considering gathering like-minded Fianna Fáil colleagues for a photocall to advocate a No vote.

Speaking at Leinster House this morning, Ms Butler said people are asked to vote Yes but have not explained what a Yes vote will lead to.


“What surprises me about the Yes posters, calling for a Yes vote, I did not notice the word abortion on any of those posters. That struck me as strange.

“It is the fundamental issue. We are asking people on May 25th whether they want to take the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution, remove Article 40.3.3 and replace it with (the wording) that the Government may legislate for the provision of the termination of pregnancy going forward. That surprised me.”

Ms Butler was joined by the party’s spokesman on social protection Willie O’Dea, who said he would not be canvassing during this referendum.

People did not want politicians involved and wanted to be able to make up their own minds, he added.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has defended the party’s decision not to discipline Peadar Tóibín for his stance on the referendum.

While the party is advocating for repeal, Mr Tóibín is actively campaigning against that position.

Ms McDonald said she would prefer if the Meath West TD was not engaging in such a way but he would not face disciplinary measures unless he voted against the party in the Dáil. Mr Tóibín is acting in a "personal capacity", she said.

“He is an adult, he has a view, he is articulating that view. Where matters are clearly distinct is where it comes to to the formulation of law and public policy.”