Monday 20 February 2017

No side accused of peddling fear by using 'cynical and dishonest' tactics to scare voters

Published 14/05/2015 | 15:54

Fergus Finlay
Fergus Finlay

Advocates of a 'No' vote in the Marriage Equality referendum are peddling "politics of fear" by using "cynical and dishonest" tactics to scare the electorate, the Chief Executive of children's charity Barnardos has warned.

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Fergus Finlay today hit out at campaigners who are trying to "manipulate people's anxieties and worries" in ways that are "simply not substantiated by facts."

Speaking at a press conference organised by Yes Equality this afternoon, he said people spreading mistruths must be challenged "day in, day out."

"If people want to tell distorted versions of the truth about this, it has to be challenged. They've been given a pretty easy ride for some of that in a lot of the media,” he said.

"We have tried to debate this in terms of values and honesty and issues.

"We have to start naming some of these tactics for what they are. It is the politics of fear; there's far too much of it going on."

Also speaking during the press conference, Mr Peter Ward, Senior Counsel, said it is wrong for certain sections of the 'no' campaign to scaremonger people by warning of "unforeseen consequences" of a 'Yes' vote.

"That is the politics of fear, and that must end now," he said.

"What we have is an incredibly rare opportunity as a community to put in to the fundamental law of our constitution a statement that says that we embrace all of our citizens in their full human dignity equally."

Meanwhile, Dr Maureen Gaffney, a psychologist and broadcaster, said a 'no' vote risks sleepwalking the country into "undoing the progress we've made as a Republic."

Calling for a Yes vote in the marriage equality referendum were (l-r) Tanya Ward of the Children’s Rights Alliance; Fergus Finlay of Barnardos; and Gráinne Long of the ISPCC. Mr Finlay said posters advocating a No vote contained “sickening” insults. Photo: Tom Burke
Calling for a Yes vote in the marriage equality referendum were (l-r) Tanya Ward of the Children’s Rights Alliance; Fergus Finlay of Barnardos; and Gráinne Long of the ISPCC. Mr Finlay said posters advocating a No vote contained “sickening” insults. Photo: Tom Burke

"In Nazi German nationals with German blood were not allowed marry Jewish people.

"In southern States in America until 1967, interracial marriage was banned.

"In apartheid South Africa interracial marriage was banned.

"I'm not drawing direct comparisons, we're far from that here, but I ask you, what is the difference excluding a whole raft of ordinary people who are gay or lesbian?

"It is just another form of the same oppression.

They were speaking at a press conference organised by Yes Equality campaign which aimed to address the "distractions" which have featured in recent debates on the referendum.

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