38 days to go to Ireland’s referendum on whether to repeal or keep the pro-life 8th amendment to the constitution on abortion….
Minister for Health Simon Harris ignores Amnesty Ireland’s flouting of law on donations, its legal challenge to Irish law on foreign funding of political campaigns and attends Amnesty Ireland’s repeal launch….
The above video shows Irish Minister for Health, Simon Harris, independent Senator Lynn Ruane and Colm O’ Gorman of Amnesty International Ireland at the launch Amnesty’s: ‘it’s time to talk’ in Moore St. market in the centre of Dublin, calling for repeal of the pro-life 8th amendment to the Irish constitution. They have an interview with a vehemently pro-choice fruit vendor, whom fortunately from their point of view, they initially appear to have randomly run into while the media listen in . ‘It’s time to talk’, appears to be aimed at more at Irish men, encouraging them to talk to the women of Ireland, because though it’s a woman’s choice, men in fact, do vote too as Harris in his wisdom, explains to everyone.
Clearly, Amnesty’s Colm O’ Gorman and Minister Harris, who are also both men, feel that this approach will help get the repeal vote over the line, as they believe that ‘mná na hEireann’ (the women of Ireland) will be mostly for a repeal vote and getting men who might otherwise not discuss abortion to do just that, will win them votes on referendum day. Senator Lynn Ruane asks the vendor: “What about at home, you’ve boys at home?”
This focuses the vendor, Caroline Alright who elaborates on how her sons are pro-choice, which was another happy coincidence as the campaign is targeted at men, whom Amnesty’s Colm O’ Gorman and Simon Harris are trying to give good example to.
The interview at Moore St. which is iconically working class Dublin with Senator Ruane who talks about her community in Tallaght, also traditionally a working class area, but with well-heeled minister Harris and Amnesty’s O’ Gorman in attendance, covers the political divide and very different socio-economic groups. Job done, all three nod approvingly.
It’s not beyond the realm that market research was behind the ‘it’s time to talk’ campaign to bring the male vote into line. This suggests there’s a concern that the male vote may not behave. As the Irish government and shamefully most of our elected representatives to parliament are canvassing on the ‘Together for yes’ campaign, it’s interesting that they also took the time out to target the male vote as above.
Amnesty no doubt want to keep a high profile and not be listed with the 70 odd other organisations in ‘Together for Yes’ and much of their fund-raising comes from new members mostly young.
If market research determined this, whether that was produced by the Irish government at the expense of the Irish tax-payer, or Amnesty International Ireland, now that they have registered with the Standards in Public Office for the referendum, we will never know.
The article from the Independent newspaper follows:
Health Minister Simon Harris is facing a continuing backlash for supporting Amnesty International’s campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote in the abortion referendum despite the charity’s dispute with the State’s political watchdog.
The anti-abortion Iona Institute criticised Mr Harris saying he has “chosen to ally himself” with an organisation that’s refusing to return a foreign donation found to have been in breach of Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) rules.
Amnesty International Ireland has brought a High Court challenge after Sipo told it to return €137,000 it got in 2015 from the Open Society Foundations (OSF), which was set up by Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros.
Mr Harris attended the launch of the human rights charity’s ‘It’s Time To Talk’ campaign to encourage a ‘Yes’ vote.
Last night Iona Institute spokesperson Maria Steen hit out at Mr Harris’s involvement.
She claimed: “So determined is the minister to further his campaign for the introduction of an abortion regime that is even more permissive than that in Britain, he is prepared to overlook Amnesty’s defiance of Sipo rules.”
Cora Sherlock, from the LoveBoth campaign, previously said it was “unacceptable” for the minister to campaign with Amnesty.
A spokesperson for Mr Harris responded to the fresh criticism pointing to a previous statement that said he had been assured Amnesty International will fully comply with Sipo rules during the abortion campaign.
She rejected Ms Steen’s remarks claiming Mr Harris’s proposals for an abortion regime to replace the Eighth Amendment would be more permissive than in Britain.
The spokeswoman said the proposed legislation is for “regulated, medically supervised termination of pregnancy in restricted circumstances” and is “vastly different to the current British law”.
Ms Sherlock also said: “it is ironic that the position of those who condemn the British regime would mean that Irish women will continue to be forced to travel to it”.
Amnesty International’s Irish director Colm O’Gorman accused anti-abortion groups of “obvious distraction tactics” in their criticism.
He said Amnesty is registered and “fully compliant” with Sipo for its referendum campaign.
“The issue that we have brought to the high court relates to a campaign targeted at Government that ended in 2017,” he added.
“With six weeks to go before polling day it’s time for us all to focus on the real issues.”