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Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin TD.
take two

Senior Sinn Féin TD says party won't be rerunning family and care referendums if in power

Matt Carthy said that at “no stage” during the next Government would Sinn Fein rerun the referendums, signalling a u-turn for the party.

SENIOR SINN FÉIN TD Matt Carthy has said that his party would not “at any stage” in the next Government consider rerunning the family and care referendums if they form the next Government. 

His comments seemingly signal a u-turn for Sinn Féin on the matter, as back in February leader Mary Lou McDonald said that in the event that both referendums on changing the constitution failed – which turned out to be the case – Sinn Féin would rerun them with different wording. 

Speaking on Newstalk’s The Hard Shoulder this evening, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence Matt Carthy said that rerunning the referendums will not be on Sinn Féin’s priorities list “at all”. 

Carthy said that Sinn Féin would focus on issues such as “housing, and the need to reform our health services” if it was in power in the next Government. 

Distancing the party from its ‘Yes, yes’ stance during the referendum campaigns, Carthy said that Sinn Féin came to an “on balance” position, but always maintained that it would have run the referendum with different proposed wording. 

He said that Senator Tom Clonan and people with disabilities put forward “very strong arguments” for a No vote in the care referendum, and that the Government failed to “rebuke” those arguments. 

“It wasn’t our campaign,” Carthy said. 

Carthy said that although his party advocated for a ‘Yes, yes’ vote in the referendums, it has always said that it would have opted for the wording recommended by the Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality. 

The Citizens’ Assembly in 2021 notably recommended that the Government should propose to delete the ‘Woman in the home’ article of the constitution and replace it with non-gender specific language, that obliges the State to take measures to support care within the home and wider community. 

The Government’s proposed wording would have seen the State only having to “strive” to support the provision of care within the home, which critics said did not go far enough to support carers. 

mary Mary Lou McDonald setting out Sinn Féin's position back in February.

 

Back in February, when setting out Sinn Féin’s position, Mary Lou McDonald said: “Should this fail, well then yes, the question we would put would be the wording as per the Citizens’ Assembly,” she said. 

McDonald at the time said Sinn Fein would rerun the referendums, with different wording, “early” in their term of Government.

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