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Eamon Ryan at the RDS Rolling News
Family and Care Referendum

Ryan says case to update Constitution 'still there' as McDowell slams govt as ‘out of touch’

As counting continues it looks as if it will be a No No result in the referendums.

WITH IT LOOKING like a No vote in both the Family and Care referendums across the country, Government and opposition parties are both going to have some serious soul searching to do in the weeks ahead. 

Speaking at the RDS count centre in Dublin a short while ago, Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan told reporters “obviously the case we presented didn’t win”. 

He did not accept however that the direction of the votes so far means that something went wrong with his party’s campaign. 

“It does look like a No vote in both the family and the care referenda. First thing to say is we will obviously have to respect this. That’s the voice of the people,” Ryan said.

“I don’t accept that our campaign did go wrong,” he said, adding that both questions were complex and there was a “myriad” of reasons people might vote No. 

“To my mind, the case to update the Constitution is still there,” Ryan said.

He added however that this would be a job for the next Government. 

Meanwhile, People Before Profit Solidarity TD Paul Murphy was firm in his view that there should be a rerun of the Care referendum.

He wrote on X/formerly Twitter: “Crap wording, crap campaign, crap government. This is the result. Left parties should commit to proposing a referendum recognising and supporting care inside and outside of the home and the rights of people with disabilities.”

McDowell response

Arriving at the RDS ahead of Ryan, Independent Senator Michael McDowell (who had campaigned for a No-No vote) was in high spirits as he spoke to reporters.

He said the Government now needs to explain why it wasted €20m on these referendums.

“The people have spoken, it’s their Constitution. They’ve made a wise decision and rejected what I consider to be foolish amendments,” he said. 

When asked by The Journal what the direction of the results so far says about the Government, he said it shows how they are “obviously out of touch with public opinion”. 

“They should be concentrating on housing and issues like that,” he said.

Ryan rejected this idea that the Government is out of touch and said he does not believe the votes were a vote on the Government. 

“It was a vote on the merits of both issues,” he said.

McDowell maintained his prediction that the final result will be 60:40 in favour of No.

Over at Dublin Castle, Aontú TD Peadar Tóibín who also campaigned for a No No said the results so far are “looking very positive”.

He told RTÉ News that the referendum was a “David versus Goliath referendum”.

Tóibín said it looks as if leaders of opposition parties like Sinn Féin and Labour are “marooned” from their support base in terms of the issues in these referendums. 

“That’s a very dangerous place to be… in advance of an election,” he said. 

Opposition parties

Labour leader Ivana Bacik also popped her head into the RDS earlier today alongside Labour Senator Marie Sherlock. 

With the Labour party campaigning for a Yes Yes vote, Bacik said the results so far are “very disappointing”. 

She lay the blame firmly at the feet of the Government however and said ultimately the blame lies with them. 

It was put to Bacik by The Journal that a lot of disability advocates have said they felt betrayed by the position of political parties on the left.

Bacik said her party met with many groups representing people with disabilities and received a great deal of support from them for Labour’s position on a Yes Yes vote.

“The reality is, as we said from the start, we wanted to see a different wording here. And unfortunately, it’s not the wording the Government put forward,” she said. 

On why the Government departed from the wording recommended by the Citizens’ Assembly, Ryan said it looked at all of the options but came to the view that it was not possible to accept the various concerns that had been reflected in relation to care. 

More reaction to come throughout the day.  

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