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Vote Yes Yes on 8th March and take the next step on our journey to equality

Published: Sunday, March 03, 2024

Responding to today’s Sunday Independent Poll, four of the lead civil society organisations calling for a Yes Yes vote in the upcoming referendums, including the National Women’s Council, Treoir, One Family and Family Carers Ireland, said that it is clear that this is the week when many people will really engage with the referendums on care and family and make up their minds on how to vote on March 8th 

These referendums affect us all. As Irish people, we are proud of our tradition of referendums which paved the way for important progress in terms of equality and women’s rights in recent years.  

On Friday the Irish people have another opportunity to vote Yes Yes and demonstrate their commitment to continue our campaign for a more inclusive, a more caring Ireland.  

Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council said, 

“As Mary McAleese said this week when she came out in support of Yes Yes – the ‘referendums on March 8th are part of a journey not a destination’.  And we need to take this step if we want the journey to continue.  

We have seen how the referendums have generated important debates on family and care that are really welcome. If we vote yes, this will create the framework for these discussions to continue. A yes yes vote will provide the political platform for us as civil society organisations to put pressure on the Government to deliver the practical supports and services that we know are so desperately needed for families, for disabled people, for older people, for carers, and for women.  

Voting Yes Yes  is our chance to say very clearly as a country that there is no place for sexism in our Constitution and that we believe a woman’s place is wherever she wants it to be. It is our chance to value and recognise the important contribution of men to family care.  

By voting Yes Yes we say we value and recognise all children and families equally by extending the definition of the family and brining lone parents, kinship carers and other unmarried families, like the one of John O’Meara, into the protection of our Constitution.”  

 Damien Peelo, CEO of Treoir said, 

“Many people will start engaging with the referendums and make up their minds this week. We are inviting people to think about all the people in their lives that a Yes Yes vote will make a difference to; our neighbours who may be a lone parent family or unmarried family. Our mothers who may have had to leave paid employment due to the marriage bar and are now struggling on an inadequate income in old age. Or our friends who are caring for our older parents while also trying to work outside the home and pay the equivalent of a second mortgage for childcare.  

As voters reflect on the potential for positive change that a Yes Yes can deliver, this week is also a clear invitation to all the political parties who have come out and supported a Yes Yes vote to outline what they will do to support families and care when these referendums are passed.  

A yes vote in both referendums will be a significant and important step away from a dark past in Ireland. And they are an important, albeit small step towards a better future. We know there is still a rocky road ahead of us on our journey to equality. But for the lone parents, for the kinship families, the unmarried families, the carers and those who need supports, for the mothers and fathers and everyone affected by these referendums in our lives, we are asking people to take this step and vote Yes Yes on March 8th. “