At the children’s referendum count centre in Dublin Castle yesterday from top: Frances Fitzgerald, Alan Shatter, Senator Jillian Van Turnhout, Justice Catherine McGuinness and a spoiled ballot.

Government Ignored Judge’s Warning That Children’s Referendum Voters Were Confused (Irish Independent)

(Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)



69 thoughts on “Yes But

  1. ivan

    Shatter was a disgrace on Marian’s show yesterday. He’s either wilfully thick, or genuinely dismissive about the concerns people have about governments spending public money to push a particular constitutional agenda.

    I suspect the latter.

    1. bisted

      Shatter was at his most obnoxious and arrogant on Marian. She took him to task but the Marian of old would have left him eviscerated.

    2. IDB

      He’s just generally condescending and dismissive of the Irish people and their bloody “opinions”! He acts as if democracy is the worst part of the political system in Ireland. I honestly don’t know why he got involved in politics.

    3. Jockstrap

      Shatter is obnoxious. He’s a dangerous man to have in Justice. When being interviewed, his style is smugly roll over this interviewer by continuing to speak while they are trying ask him a question. It’s a time filling exercise to prevent more questions being asked.

  2. Raskolnikov

    “Not informed enough”.
    That’s akin to writing “too lazy and ignorant to go and find out what this vote was about so I’m not gonna bother”.

    1. KeithFahey’s Moustache

      Perhaps if people were given the option of None of the above on the ballot, it would reduce this and we would have useful statistic at the end of a polling day.

      The facts are clear the Government spent money on a biased campaign, the amendment itself will do little for children if it is not properly enforced and the HSE has less than a stellar record in protecting children in its care (even in a short 3 year period) Kids have disappeared in the system. I believe Children should have the highest level of protection from neglect, abuse and or the Catholic Church as to summarise all of the above.

      The whole campaign was a farce, the amendment was badly worded and weak and the legislation to back it is pending. People have a right to spoil their vote if they are unsure or don’t believe either of the options presented to them are correct.

      1. Entente kordiale

        “The amendment itself will do little for children if it is not properly enforced.” Political debate in Ireland would be greatly helped by remembering the distinction between “necessary” and “sufficient”. The instant putdown for any policy proposal is that it’s not going to cure the problem on its own. It may be an essential piece of a bigger jigsaw. But that kind of more complex, extensive thinking doesn’t make for ad-friendly, froth-at-the-mouth TV or radio.

    2. Tommy

      A large percentage of the electorate are complete morons. They will play the bumbling victim if it suits them.

      The changes to the legislation were clearly documented. The leaflet in my house showed the old and new legislation and it was easy to read, understand and make a judgement on.

    3. bangalore

      Agreed. This is the same crap you hear at every referendum “well the government didnt explain it properly, politicians lied blah blah”

      Some people still haven’t copped on that in referenda they are the legislator, they are the politician. It is their duty and responsibility to read up and educate themselves on the details and consequences of their vote.

      If you are still confused then don’t vote, but make no mistake that that is your own fault, not anyone elses

      1. KeithFahey’s Moustache

        See below lads a QUARTER!!! Yep that is the figure of the population has literacy issues. That means 25% of the people eligible to vote may have had issues reading the leaflet IF it was even delivered no one on our street got one.

        1. Tommy

          They should probably abstain from voting if that is the case. If you can’t infrom yourself about a constitutional change or read a policiticans manifesto then you should not vote and instead you should get yourself to one of the many adult literacy classes. That would be time better spent than trying to overturn a democratic vote because the result didnt suit you.

          1. Tommy

            Why do you sound so surprised? Read the story above. A legal appeal is expected based on the poor electorate being poorly informed.

  3. Captain Obvious

    “Not informed enough”??? The Referendum Commission delivered a booklet to every house. Read it, I did – and then make your mind up. If the booklet wasn’t delivered (don’t know how often this happened) go and find out. You are an adult, take some responsibility for your democratic duty.

  4. dylad

    You were only misinformed if you relied solely on facebook posts, blogs and shitilsim from John Waters. You can see the exact text of changes were on the dail website!

  5. pendaticduck

    Love these people who put no effort in and blame other for their ignorance. They seem to expect to be able to form an opinion solely by picking information up by chance.

  6. ReproBertie

    I’m not sure if it’s worse to spoil the vote through laziness or not to bother turning up at all. 33.5% voted and the constitution is being amended on the say so of 19.34% of the electorate. That’s less than 1 in 5 but the coalition trumpet the result as the will of the people. I think the 66.5% not bothering their holes is more reflective of the people’s opinion on this matter.

    1. Lan

      Sorry but it is the will of the people, the other 3/4 of people have the opportunity to give their opinion they either chose not to or had none. Either way that’s the way a referendum works you have a choice not making it does not make the result undemocratic

      1. Navel

        People are such idiots.
        It is one thing to spoil your vote in a general election if you think none of the candidates are worthy of being elected.
        But it is completely stupid to spoil your vote in a referendum.
        If you don’t want the proposal to be passed (for whatever reason, including not having enough information or being confused about the issue), you should vote No.

  7. KeithFahey’s Moustache

    There are those sadly in our society who are neither intelligent enough or who have a poor grasp of law coupled with the fact that a quarter of the Irish population have literacy issues!!!! Yep amazing in this day and age but true.

    The whole campaign was run as if you vote NO you are a child molester, a member of youth defence, a priest or worst of all Dana. The No campaign was Vote No because (Insert Lie here).

    Some people do need to be spoon fed and the courts have showed the Gov were biased in their spoon feeding. Once again politicians show they are idiots and the Irish Electorate shows they are getting the politicians they deserve

  8. M

    Kind of beside the point, but what’s the story with the “tá” vote?

    I must be wrong, but I always thought “sea” meant “yes” and “tá” meant “is”…?

    1. IDB

      Sea comes from “Is ea” which means “it is” as well. There is no Irish equivalent of yes. What they should do is have the question as “Do you agree/ approve of XYZ” and the responses “I agree” and “I don’t agree”.
      Also, “Vótáil” isn’t a word. And even if it was it would mean “voting”. So all the Sinn Féin posters that want to say “Vote Yes!” Actually say “Voting, Is!”
      Rant over..

      1. M

        Huh, thanks for that!

        I knew that “Vótáil Tá” posters were all wrong (embaressingly wrong for a public campaign), but seeing the Tá on its own up there on the ballot card made me wonder if it could’ve meant yes

      2. Entente kordiale

        A kindred spirit! I’mi not sure whether “Votáil” is a present participle or a gerund, but it’s definitely not an imperative. Isn’t it “Vótaigh (sing.) / Vótaigí” (pl.)? Or is there an actual Irish verb?

        1. M

          Well sure there’s no such thing as a “v” in Irish really, so I’d say IDB is right that it isn’t a real word at all.
          But you’re right, either way to make it “vótáil” for this would be wrong in any case

    1. Tommy

      We should be able to vote online in the same way I can do my taxes online with ROS.
      I haven’t voted in 5 years as I moved house about 8 times in that period like a lot of young people going between colleges and jobs. It was an absolute chore to register in my last address.

      1. Jiminy Cricket

        I’m the exact same! The drive home is a 6 hour round trip & it wasn’t an option last weekend. The pain in the boobs to get the vote changed to my rented apartment address really isn’t worth it, when I’ll know I’ll be gone in a year’s time! Do you need a really good reason to be eligible for postal vote?

    2. KeithFahey’s Moustache

      Not very democratic now is it? But if it was passed I think it is only fair that the NONE OF THE ABOVE option is added to every ballot.

      1. Navel

        Do you really think more people are going to vote if we have NONE OF THE ABOVE as an option on the ballot paper?

        You can take it as a given that those who didn’t vote were, in effect, saying NONE OF THE ABOVE.

        And what does that actually mean?
        It means NO.
        It means they don’t want the constitution to change but they don’t really care.
        So in effect they are saying it is ok with them if the constitution changes, which means that their NONE OF THE ABOVE vote is a YES vote.

        Eh, where was I?

        1. KeithFahey’s Moustache

          No it means that they may want the change but just not in the format of TBC that this ballot was put to the electorate.

  9. Oh hi!

    Not informed enough is, in my opinion, better than the Sean Quinn vote spoiling that went on Cavan/Monaghan

  10. Father Filth

    If the elected put as much energy and talking into other affairs, as much as they’ve chanelled into this white elephant, this country would be in a fine place.

    The problem was never the legislation, but the lack of on the ground coverage, particularly for vulnerable children and teens, past the point at which the social workers clock off, in the late afternoon..

    Really annoying these past few weeks, various characters have been tooting their ‘grandness’ at putting this forward, like a kid that’s found a plastic trumpet behind the sofa. Toot Toot, march, march..

    Making hay for themselves.

    1. Ella

      What is it you actually wanted done?

      The constitution is not the place for specifics. The constitution is the bit where we lay out the basic ethical codes by which the legislation in Ireland must be informed and constrained. That’s the only bit upon which the electorate get a direct voted.
      Legislation and things like social workers’ hours are decided afterwards. By professional bodies and your elected representatives on the grounds that neither you nor I nor John Waters nor the fella in the pub is qualified.
      The qualified bodies have been telling you throughout that in order to improve legislation they needed the constitution to recognise the individual rights of the child as distinct parties from their parents. So that’s what we voted upon.
      what did you WANT this referendum to be about?

      1. Kath

        I wanted the referendum to be about something besides the government patting themselves on the back “Look what we’ve done for children’s rights!”. Which, I think, we will hear / see ad nauseum during the next election. Regardless of what impact the referendum actually has (if any).

        In one way its a particularly clever piece of legislation, as the perception is that government is doing something to change/dramatically improve the welfare of vulnerable children without actually doing anything at all.

        1. Ella

          I still don’t see what you wanted done differently. The wording of our constitution made no provision allowing legislation to recognise the the distinct rights of the child. Now it does. That’s it.

          Now, whether the current government, or the next, or the government of 2072 use this to introduce the best possible legislation is an important issue. But it is a separate issue because in this country we don’t put specific legislation to the popular vote.

          I can’t quite get my head around the idea of assessing a constitutional amendment on the grounds that you suspect the government of the day is lying about their intention to also legislate.

          1. Kath

            Ella – we can agree to disagree. You don’t have to be able to see my point and I can accept yours without agreeing with you.

            What will be telling is the actual impact this has on vulnerable children’s lives (if any). And for that all of us, regardless of our differing opinions, will just have to wait and see.

      2. Clampers Outside!

        “to improve legislation they needed the constitution to recognise the individual rights of the child as distinct parties from their parents.”

        If you think voting yes did that you are deluded.

      3. Father FIlth

        Funding. Funding that has been lacking up to now. Funding that is likely to be even more paltry and derisory (Home helps.. look how that’s working out) towards any common sense, going forward.

        Funding, accountability and a healthy transparency would be my magic three.

        There will still be inept work practices, I can’t be bothered-ism, misery, death, etc. until there’s a physical presence and a ‘real world’ framework to handle family and child issues. Not some back slapping mid season paper circle jerk for unctuous politicians.

        Self serving legislation. Hay making at its finest.

        1. Kath

          “Not some back slapping mid season paper circle jerk for unctuous politicians.”
          Ha! Well done to you, sir, hats off.

        2. Ella

          Fair enough. But we didn’t get a vote on whether to have a referendum or reallocate proper funds. That decision is not in the hands of the people.

          Do I personally loathe the way in which our economy was run without popular mandate over the past years? Beyond the telling of it. The prioritization of the elite and invisibility of the vulnerable make me scream.

          But I can’t have the radical overhaul of the political class I want by abusing the few voting privileges I do have.

  11. Captain Obvious

    This kind of attitude annoys me. Another forum to educate yourself on the referendum yourself was Morning Ireland on Radio 1. They had the Chairperson of the Referendum Commission in answering questions from listeners for a few mornings over the last few weeks. I found this useful as the questions submitted were usually the areas I was unsure of also. Unfortunately a lot of those who didn’t vote / didn’t feel informed enough probably listen to Spin, Today FM, 98FM or some other bubble gum pop spinning, absolute crap talking breakfast show. Real opiate for dumb people radio shows.

  12. Jockstrap

    I don’t understand why everyone is so upset. Do they not know that we hold all referendums twice?

  13. CapitalEye

    Agree with all of the above re people blaming others for not being informed enough, but having the vote on a Saturday was a terrible decision too. I almost forgot about it myself.

    1. Kieran

      I thought that was a great idea. As a student I was sick of not being able to vote because I couldn’t make it from one end of the country to the other on time on a Thursday.

      1. CapitalEye

        Change where you’re registered to vote then. The government are planning a gaggle of referenda during their term so save yourself the hassle in the future. You can always change it back after you finish college.

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