Thursday 26 April 2018

'No' vote group accuses social media giant Twitter of trying to interfere in Irish politics

Twitter yesterday called for a 'yes vote'.
Twitter yesterday called for a 'yes vote'.

Niall O'Connor, Political Correspondent

A group leading the campaign calling for a 'No' vote in the upcoming Marriage Equality referendum has accused social media giant Twitter of trying to interfere in Irish politics.

'Mothers and Fathers Matter' has today claimed that marriage is an arrangement "between a man and a woman" and that passing the referendum would compromise the future of Irish children.

The group claimed that while they accept two men can love a child, "neither can be a mother".

Chairperson Ray Kinsella said allowing same sex marriage would impose a "new form of austerity which would impoverish the rights of many children's relationship with their biological families and therefore their sense of identities."

Meanwhile, group spokesperson Keith Mills today accused Twitter of trying to interfere in the debate after the global giant yesterday called for a 'yes vote'.

"I don't believe corporations, particularly foreign corporations should be interfering in Irish politics," he said.

Mr Mills also criticised Children's Minister James Reilly after he accused members of the 'No' campaign of using children as "pawns" as a means of spreading fear.

"I think it's bizarre that a minister whose responsibility is Minister for Children doesn't believe that a child has a right to a mother and a father," he said.

The remarks were made at a lively press conference in Dublin which the group used to formally launch its campaign.

But there was widespread confusion after one campaigner was unable to support her claims that children who grow up in a single family home are more prone to committing crime or becoming involved in an abusive relationship. Spokesperson Kate Bopp said this has been shown statistically.

Asked to name the research that backs up this claim, Ms Bopp replied: "You can go online".

She said that "prisons are full of young men who do not know their fathers" and that children are at a "disadvantage" if they do not grow up in a home with a mother and father.

Meanwhile, the 'Yes Equality' group also launched its first billboard advert in Dublin today and said voters may respond better to campaigners who are not involved in politics.

Group spokesperson Grainne Healy said campaigners are getting a positive reaction because they are not necessarily involved in politics.

"They are finding they are getting a very positive response, many of them because they are not from political parties," she told

Ms Healy said it is vital that children who are uncomfortable with their sexuality are shown that they are  treated as "humans and "loved and cherished".

"The words on the billboard describe Ireland [and] the journey Irish people have been on towards greater acceptance of their lesbian and gay family members and friends," she said.

"The backbone of our campaign is supporting engagement in conversations all across the country. We hope the billboard prompts people to talk about marriage equality," she added.

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