Tuesday 15 October 2019

Final Results

Repeal the Eighth Amendment?

Yes 66.40% 1,429,981

No 33.60% 723,632

  • Constituencies declared: 40/40

Referendum Hub

Abortion referendum groups refuse to reveal spend on campaign

Ailbhe Smyth
Ailbhe Smyth
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

Two of the three leading pro-repeal campaign groups are refusing to say how much they will spend during the abortion referendum.

A number of pro- and anti-Eighth Amendment groups refused to furnish funding details to an RTÉ Prime Time survey. And only one in five organisations mentioned by RTÉ provided financial details to the Irish Independent.

Pro-life groups expect to spend more than €1.5m towards campaigning to retain the Eighth Amendment.

Pro-choice groups say they will spend more than €500,000. However, the largest pro-choice groups refused to divulge how much they would spend.

Three pro-repeal organisations are now coming together to form the main campaign group. Together for Yes will be lead by Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment, the Abortion Rights Campaign, and the National Women's Council .

Yet two of these groups are refusing to reveal their spending. The National Women's Council told RTÉ says it will spend €70,000. But the other two groups will not divulge any details.

Ailbhe Smyth, convenor of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment, said the group are in "the process of joining with other organisations". This was, she felt, the reason funding details hadn't been organised yet.

Together for Yes will be launched next week and is calling itself the "national, civil society campaign" for a Yes vote.

Another organisation, the Council for Civil Liberties said: "We have since decided we will register and we have informed the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) of our intention to register - and this had been notified to RTÉ 'Prime Time'. We also indicated that we intend to spend approximately €10,000 in the course of the referendum campaign."

On the pro-life side, a spokesman for the Catholic Bishops' Conference did not reveal how much the Church would be spending on delivering its message during the referendum campaign, but said: "The financial oversight of the working of the Bishops' Conference is governed by the Charities Act 2009 and the Bishops' Conference observes the requirements of the Charities Regulatory Authority."

Youth Defence, which is pro the Eighth, did not respond.

Pro-repeal organisations who responded to the RTÉ survey said they would spend around €500,000. Foreign donations to third-party groups are not permitted in a referendum. Amnesty International expects to spend €150,000, and the National Women's Council €70,000 - both of these are on the repeal side.

The Pro-Life Campaign will spend around €550,000, while the Save the Eighth group is planning to spend €400,000.

Meanwhile, two members of the newly launched Transparent Referendum Initiative have confirmed they are pro-repeal.

The group was established to "address misinformation and foreign influence on social media through transparency and scrutiny of paid advertisements".

Irish Independent

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