The referendum on the Eighth Amendment has become ‘horrendously divisive’, according to a Fianna Fáil councillor, who claims that society will need to ‘heal’ whatever the outcome.
The debate about the upcoming referendum reached the floor of the chamber of Mayo County Council yesterday afternoon (Monday) during a motion calling on the local authority to support a No vote.
The motion was proposed by Independent councillor Gerry Ginty but was not passed after councillors voted in favour of an amendment by Cllr Jarlath Munnelly which stated that Mayo County Council should take no position on the Eighth Amendment referendum.
During the debate on the motion Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Smyth stated that the ‘extremists’ on both sides of the debate were making the referendum ‘horrendously divisive’.
“I hope this referendum will come and pass in a sense we can move on as one because it has become so divisive at this stage that people have become fearful to say anything in the wrong company.
“I hope after this referendum we can heal as a community because from what I have seen, it has been horrendously divisive. Some of the viciousness and vitriol out there is unwelcome and unnecessary. I do hope that the divide that has been driven in between us by the media and extremes of both sides of the campaign, is not such that it can’t be healed,” said Cllr Smyth, who clarified he was voting No.
In forwarding his motion calling on Mayo County Council to support a No vote, Cllr McGinty said that while a woman has the right to choose what she does to her body, ‘it differs slightly when there is a second body involved’.
“Abortion is wrong, you can call it what ever you like, the termination of pregnancy, but it ultimately leads to the killing of an unborn child. You can dress it up in any nice language you like..
“I am asking the people of Mayo to please vote No. I am not telling anyone what to do, I am asking very respectfully. There are some people who believe that by introducing abortion it will make life easier for women. In some cases, it will but not for the greater good,” he said.
He also said the public had a right to know how their public representatives would vote on the referendum.