Both sides defend approach to Eighth Amendment poster campaigns

Amnesty's Colm O'Gorman says conversations "will influence the outcome of this referendum much, much more than posters"

Both sides defend approach to Eighth Amendment poster campaigns

Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Both the 'Yes' and 'No' campaigns for the upcoming Eighth Amendment referendum have defended their approach to their respective poster campaigns.

Posters from various campaigns and political parties have begun appearing around the country in recent days and weeks.

The Save the 8th group has defended its poster claiming '1 in 5 babies are aborted in England'.

Critics have pointed out that this does not include the number of babies who are miscarried.

However, the pro-life group says even if these were included, that would mean the figure is 1 in 6.

Speaking on the Pat Kenny Show, the campaign's communications director John McGuirk explained why they decided not to count the miscarriages in the final statistic.

He said: "Number one, they're hard to calculate. Number two, the point of an abortion is to avoid a live birth. Miscarriages are horrible and tragic, but somebody going in to have an abortion is to prevent a live child being born.

"Comparing the number of abortions to the number of live births is something that we do, that we do, that is done internationally... we think it's a very fair statistic."

"There will be posters"

Pro-choice campaigners, meanwhile, say the referendum will not be won on the basis of posters - but also moved to downplay fears over a lack of 'Yes' posters.

Image: Nicole Gernon

It has been suggested the pro-life campaign had 'stolen a march' by being first to put up posters in prime spots around the country.

However, Amnesty International - which launched its 'Yes' campaign today - says talking to family and friends about voting yes is more important than posters.

Speaking at the launch of Amnesty's 'It's Time To Talk' campaign, executive director Colm O'Gorman says such conversations are vital.

He observed: "Anybody who's endured general elections and referendums here knows just how many posters can go up on the average lamp-post in Ireland.

"This referendum won't be won on the basis of posters - yes, they matter, they're important... but why we're launching this campaign today is because we believe the conversations we each have will influence the outcome of this referendum much, much more than posters."

However, he also moved to reassure repeal supporters that they will be seeing 'Yes' posters around the country.

He noted: "The Yes campaign raised, in the space of two and a half hours this morning, nearly €70,000 for our poster campaign. There will be posters - relax, it will be grand."

Reporting by Nicole Gernon and Stephen McNeice