Don’t trust social media for facts on Eighth Amendment – FG

‘Just because a friend you trust posts something ... does not mean it is fact’ – Minister

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar listens as Caroline and Michael McCarthy speak about their experience of having to travel to Liverpool for an abortion  due to a fatal foetal abnormality during a Fine Gael  event pressing for a Yes vote in the May 25th referendum on whether to repeal the Eighth Amendment. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar listens as Caroline and Michael McCarthy speak about their experience of having to travel to Liverpool for an abortion due to a fatal foetal abnormality during a Fine Gael event pressing for a Yes vote in the May 25th referendum on whether to repeal the Eighth Amendment. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

 

Fine Gael has warned people not to trust social media for facts surrounding the referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

A number of senior Ministers held an early morning canvass on Wednesday morning in Dublin city centre, urging people to vote Yes in the referendum.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said a lot of people have made up their minds on either side but there is a significant number of voters who are undecided.

The more people read into the question being posed in the referendum, the more inclined they are to vote Yes, Mr Murphy added.

The Minister added: “One thing to be particularly careful of – because social media will play a dominant role in this campaign, for people who are younger – is to check the facts.

“Just because a friend you trust has posted something or reposted something does not mean it is fact. You have a responsibility to get informed.”

Mr Murphy was joined by Minister for Health Simon Harris, Minister for Education Richard Bruton, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, Minister of State Jim Daly and a number of Senators.

Mr Harris said men should not feel excluded from the debate, insisting it is a matter for them too and that they cannot absent themselves from the conversation.

Treated with compassion

Many have had to travel abroad with their partners from every single town and county throughout the country, Mr Harris added.

“If it was a woman in our life, if it was a woman we know, would we want her to be treated with compassion and care – or would we want her to feel the cold shoulder?” he said.

Mr Daly urged public representatives not to focus exclusively on the Yes or No side, because there is a huge middle ground that genuinely do not know how to vote.

The Minister of State said it was the role of each TD and Senator to reach out to these people and ask them to understand the realities of abortion.

“If this was my daughter in the morning who had a crisis pregnancy, what would I want for her? Would I want her to have the ability to obtain a termination here or have to go under a cloud of darkness and fear and guilt abroad to deal with it?”

Fine Gael has a vote of conscience on this issue, but all senior Ministers are united on the question of repealing the Eighth Amendment.

There are divided views on the legislation to replace it.

Party figures stress Ministers will canvass across the country ahead of the referendum, and will hold a number of early-morning canvasses in Dublin city centre over the next four weeks.

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