Referendum vote urged from Down syndrome voters

 

THE 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 yesterday 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 the advisory council of Down Syndrome Ireland, said a growing number of people with intellectual disabilities were voting in elections and referendums and 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 that “there are distinct advantages for children with disabilities and their families if there is a Yes vote on November 10th”.

The guide, which is available from the charity’s website,explains what the referendum is about and the four main aspects of the proposed change.

Katie Troy (24) from Co Offaly was at yesterday’s publication.

“I want to vote because I want to express my voice. I want to let people know what I believe,” she said.

“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.”

Mr 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,” he said.

The easy-to-read guide to the referendum is available at downsyndrome.ie.