Burton criticises ‘demeaning’ No campaign posters

White agrees with Shatter views on using children as ‘weapons’

Dog owners in Dublin have taken part in ‘Dogs for love’ a walk along Sandymount in support of the Yes Equality campaign. Video: Bryan O'Brien


Tánaiste Joan Burton has claimed some of the posters deployed by the No campaign are “sad and demeaning”.

The Labour leader launched her party’s Make It Happen campaign ahead of the vote on May 22nd.

She said as an adopted person, she finds some of their leaflets and messages sad.

At the launch, Minister for Communications Alex White said he agrees with claims by former minister for Justice that children are being used as “weapons” by the No side.

Mr White said the referendum had nothing to do with children and was not about redefining marriage. It was about equality for all our citizens, he said.

The Tanaiste was also asked about comments by the Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin, who said the church would have to consider whether or not it would continue to perform the civil part of wedding ceremonies if a vote is passed.

Ms Burton said whatever the Catholic Church wants to do is a matter for them.

“We have had these debates over a long period of time,” she said. “There was a time when in the church’s wisdom at that time if for instance a Catholic got married to a Protestant they had to get married very early in the morning and generally not in the main body of the church. That was practice 50 years ago that was regarded as 100 per cent not changeable.

“The church like every organisation reflects the changes in society. But what the church decides is entirely a matter for the church.”

Meanwhile, the Green Party also launched its campaign for a Yes vote.

Councillor Roderic O’Gorman described how he and his partner don’t feel valued by this country.

He said they are relying on the “kindness of strangers to secure our constitutional rights”.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said he is confident and optimistic the vote will pass.

He said this was a chance to send a historic message.

In an interview with The Irish Times, Mr Shatter aid the issue of surrogacy is irrelevant to the debate and it is being misused by the opposition to create confusion.

Mr Shatter said it was very “unfortunate” that the opposition to this referendum have raised this issue in a way that “lacks insight and compassion”.

He said: “This is a diversion. It is very unfortunate that children are being dishonestly used as a weapon in this referendum by individuals. Many of those who are professing concern about the rights of children are the same individuals who opposed the children’s rights amendment.”

Mr Shatter said it was inevitable that surrogacy was going to be brought into the debate on marriage equality.

He said this is down to the absence of it from the Children and Family Relationships Bill, which passed into law earlier this year.