Saturday 24 September 2016

Politicians must make their case for May 22 poll

Published 11/05/2015 | 02:30

Michael Noonan TD has said the Government wanted a low-key campaign in the same-sex marriage referendum (Gareth Chaney Collins)
Michael Noonan TD has said the Government wanted a low-key campaign in the same-sex marriage referendum (Gareth Chaney Collins)

Michael Noonan has said the Government wanted a low-key campaign in the same-sex marriage referendum. The Finance Minister will not be accused of exaggerating - though he may be accused of gross understatement.

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Voters encountering a politician, from any of the parties, canvassing for the referendum on Friday week, are in a minority. Although supporting a 'Yes' vote, the parties aren't bothering to put in the legwork to get the referendum passed, with far more effort being put into the by-election.

With 11 days to polling, the Government and opposition parties face a simple reality: they have failed to sufficiently explain the issues in this campaign. And once again, our democratic system risks being called into disrepute by an abysmal turnout and confusion among those who do vote.

One assumption by the Government, that there will be a lower turnout of more conservative, rural 'No' voters, and a better turnout of liberal, urban 'Yes' voters, is set to prove well wide of the mark.

Apathy is the enemy in all referendums. All our politicians have a duty to campaign and communicate with voters - whether that's for a 'Yes' or 'No' vote on the day.

Irish Independent

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