The father of a man with Down Syndrome has said society needs to decide whether it wants to have children with Down Syndrome in it.
Michael O'Dowd was speaking after Iona Institute CEO and Sunday Independent columnist David Quinn claimed Down Syndrome is 'disappearing' from the world.
He cited a statistic that 95% of parents diagnosed with a Down Syndrome baby at Dublin's Rotunda Hospital choose an abortion.
Mr O'Dowd, a former Mayor of Drogheda and Aontú representative, told The Hard Shoulder people need to have a full-rounded view.
"As a society we need to decide whether we want to have children with Down Syndrome, and the richness and the beauty that they bring to all our lives, or whether we want to have a society without them," he said.
"The question is there, the gene that causes the chromosome disorder will continue to happen, so this is a discussion that will continue to happen.
"There will never be a situation where we have no Down Syndrome people in the world, but certainly in some societies they're moving that way unfortunately."
Mr O'Dowd said prospective parents have decisions to make.
"It can be a very devastating prognosis to get in relation to the child that you're going to have," he said.
"What I would say, particularly to expectant parents that receive this diagnosis, is number one don't do anything immediately - and number two don't listen to the obstetricians."
Mr O'Dowd claimed obstetricians generally have "a very jaundiced view of people with disabilities".
"Research has shown - expectant parents - what influences them is talking to other parents that have gone through similar situations," he said.
Mr O'Dowd said parents should be given access to "all the information" around the condition.
"There will be some challenging information that they would get, but there'll also be some very positive information."
"It's up to not only communities, but it's up to the Government to give the support to parents that have to make a really difficult decision in some cases," he added.
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