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Aontú Press Conference Calls for No Vote in Both Referenda - Says a Yes Will Create 'Solicitors' Paradise'

The Leader of Aontú, Peadar Tóibín TD, said a 'Yes' victory would result in a "solicitors' paradise". He was speaking at a press conference held in Buswells Hotel this afternoon. 

Deputy Tóibín was joined by party Colleagues Becky Kealy, Luke Silke and Melissa Byrne. 

The Meath West TD said: "The family amendment is a solicitors' paradise, virtue signalling amendment a million miles from the lived reality of peoples lives. Its clear that there is a fall in the support for the government amendments. We are calling on people to stand up to the government and come out and vote no. The Constitution is the fundamental legal document of Ireland. It contains the core rights of citizens and defines the responsibilities of the State. It is not the location for either definition free amendments with potentially huge consequences or empty meaningless virtue signalling by the government”.

Deputy Tóibín continued: "For sure, some of the language in the relevant articles is archaic and it should be updated. We would have welcomed a common-sense update to reflect a modern Ireland. But these Government’s amendments are exceptionally poorly written. Opposition partis who initially articulated support for these referendums are falling silent. I think government TDs are also keeping their heads down. I think the government banking on people not engaging and not knowing what’s really at stake. Nobody knows what 'durable relationships' means in the family amendment or the confusion amendment. The government are the authors of these proposed amendments to the constitution. Yet they can’t even agree with each other as to the meanings of these amendments.  Minister Thomas Byrne has said that a person can be in a marriage with one person and in a constitutionally recognised marriage equivalent relationship with another person at the same time. Its obvious to anyone that this is a recipe for chaos. It will have unpredictable effects.  We do not know what it means in practical terms in terms of social welfare, taxation, succession, immigration, family law and beyond".

Speaking to the 'Care' Referendum, Deputy Tóibín said: This amendment will create a ceiling of responsibility, from a neo-liberal Taoiseach. I actually suspect the care amendment was written by the department of Finance to protect a liability for the state. They urgently need the wording to change to stop the liability in the upcoming case. The state is not obliged to care for the person all they have to do is strive to help the person. People who provide care for elderly or people with disabilities have been treated shockingly by this government. The wording of the 40th amendment limits care to the family. This insulates the government even further from their responsibilities in providing care. This will do nothing for so many people in great need. The ‘care’ amendment will not bring meaningful obligation on the State to support parents, support children, older people or people with disabilities. The wording of the amendment is toxic to the care of people with disabilities. It places the responsibility for care exclusively on the family. The state is indemnified from responsibility in this wording. It will confine care to the family which is mostly unpaid and 98% of this work is done by women. We urge people to vote against this". 


Speaking at the conference, Melissa Byrne, Aontú candidate in the Newbridge LEA, said: 

“As a feminist and someone who has friends with disabilities, I'm voting No to the care referendum. I don't like the current wording - it has a feel of misogyny to it, but old-fashioned and all as the wording is, it does place some pressure on the State to support the provision of care and specifically to 'endeavour to ensure' that carers aren't forced from the home by economic circumstances. The new wording replaces this with the phrase 'strive to', which I think is much weaker”.

Becky Kealy, the Aontú candidate for the Kanturk LEA, said:

“I'm a new mother to a little boy, and while I would welcome constitutional change to reflect modern Ireland and recognise the variety of family types, my concerns are with the lack of definitions here - the new wording will recognise families built on 'durable relationships' which seems in my reading of it to exclude single parents. As someone from a rural background I'm also concerned about the impacts this may have on succession, wills, and inheritance”.

Luke Silke, Aontú spokesperson on Children and Equality, and candidate in Tuam, said:

“I have major issue with the care amendment – in how it seems to imply that care is the responsibility of families as opposed to the responsibility of the State – Leo Varadkar in his interview during the week said, and I quote "I don't actually think that's the states responsibility to be honest. I do actually think that is very much the family’s responsibility." This twisted view is what’s being reflected in these amendments. And you know you speak to anyone with disabilities or their families, and they feel abandoned by the State, in some cases going to court to secure their rights to education and so on – and no sign of the government to ratify the optional protocol at all. The government are trying to dress up in ‘progressive’ clothing in an election year, but there is nothing progressive about this amendment”.

By Aontú Press | 6 March, 2024

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The Irish political system is radically broken

In Ireland the vast majority of elected representatives put a finger in the air to check which way the political wind is blowing. They have one eye on their leaders – seeking brownie points – and another eye keeping their seat safe. If elected reps shut up and do as they’re told, they are promoted; if they stand up for what they believe in, they are demoted. No wonder we have the political class we have. No wonder one point one billion euro is being buried in a hole under the National Children’s Hospital and that Stormont is in stalemate.

Throughout Ireland, many people are now afraid to say what they feel, many are afraid to respectfully engage on a range of different topics. Many feel there is a new censorship and a new political correctness in Ireland, that opposition to the establishment is being deleted.

Respectful opposition is not the enemy. Respectful opposition is a critical element of a functional democracy. Aontú will have the backbone to stand up, without fear, for you.