Monday 15 October 2018

Floating Voter debates the Eighth with McGuirk and Noone - 'Young men could rebel against Yes'

Fine Gael senator Catherine Noone went head-to-head with Savethe8th communications director John McGuirk in the final debate of the referendum campaign
Fine Gael senator Catherine Noone went head-to-head with Savethe8th communications director John McGuirk in the final debate of the referendum campaign
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Young men could rebel against the rise of global feminism by voting to retain the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, a prominent Yes campaigner has warned.

Fine Gael senator and chair of the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment Catherine Noone said she is concerned young men, who feel threatened by feminist movements such as the #metoo campaign, will use the referendum to hit back.

Speaking on a special referendum debate on Independent.ie’s Floating Voter podcast, Ms Noone said: “It’s something I am concerned about even in my own party there are young men who seem to be somehow aggrieved with women because we are exerting our position in the world a bit more nowadays and that somehow that’s anti-men.”

“It’s not, it’s just about equality and you know I think it has permeated this debate and it will inform a lot of younger men,” she added.

Ms Noone said she was also encouraged by the “huge proportion” of young men voting Yes to support the “women who they love”.

The Fine Gael senator went head-to-head with Savethe8th communications director John McGuirk in the final debate of the referendum campaign published exclusively on Independent.ie

Fine Gael senator Catherine Noone went head-to-head with Savethe8th communications director John McGuirk in the final debate of the referendum campaign
Fine Gael senator Catherine Noone went head-to-head with Savethe8th communications director John McGuirk in the final debate of the referendum campaign

Mr McGuirk said he has encountered older voters who will vote to Repeal the Eighth Amendment as a “screw you” to the Catholic Church.

However, he believes his campaign to retain the Eighth Amendment will be a success if older people vote in large numbers.

“I believe the vast majority of older voters will tomorrow vote No. Whether they vote in large enough numbers to help us win the referendum is an open question,” he said.

Mr McGuirk also revealed that his opposition to abortion stems back to an incident in college when a woman he was close to was forced by her parents to have a pregnancy terminated.

Fine Gael senator Catherine Noone went head-to-head with Savethe8th communications director John McGuirk in the final debate of the referendum campaign
Fine Gael senator Catherine Noone went head-to-head with Savethe8th communications director John McGuirk in the final debate of the referendum campaign

He also said he would discourage a family member from having an abortion if they became pregnant as a result of rape.

“I wouldn’t condemn them if they did. I have a friend who was born as a result of a rape and I can’t look him in the eye and tell him he shouldn’t be here,” Mr McGuirk said.

Mr McGuirk also called for Google to be brought before an Oireachtas Committee to be questioned on the tech firm’s decision to ban referendum advertising.

Google took the decision as part of its global strategy to protect “election integrity”.

Mr McGuirk said this was the “single biggest act of corporate interference” in Ireland’s election history and said it suggested “our electoral system is being compromised”.

“In any other western democracy that would be a major story and politicians would want to know what was the risk to the electoral process. In Ireland there was a collective shrug and a ‘whoop-de-doo isn’t this great for the Yes campaign,’” he said.

Ms Noone said she would have “no difficulty” in calling Google before the Oireachtas to force the company to explain its decision.  However, she said she had not given it a lot of thought as she is focused on the referendum campaign.

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