The Minister for Children has launched an astonishing attack on those campaigning for No vote in the upcoming Marriage Equality referendum, accusing them of “scaremongering” and of using children as “pawns” in the debate.
Speaking at a convention organised by the Adoption Authority of Ireland in Dublin, James Reilly said that the No campaign reminds him of the divorce referendum, and that laws surrounding surrogacy and adoption will not be changed by a Yes vote.
While he accused No campaigners of engaging in what he termed a “misleading and bogus approach” to the campaign, Minister Reilly declined to put their fears to rest by stating outright that he believes that a child has the right to a mother and father – one of the central reasons why many people will vote No, according to various statements of the group Mothers and Fathers Matter.
Given the fact that James Reilly is the Minister with responsibility for Children, it is somewhat surprising that he was not given more responsibility for advocating the Government’s Yes campaign in a referendum where children’s rights play such a vital role. To date, his contribution has mainly consisted of his speech to the Young Fine Gael National Conference last month, when he pleaded with voters to vote Yes so that the “bad message” that Irish people are “intolerant” would not be sent out to foreign investors.