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TD Michael Collins blasts €23m referenda as a waste of money

March 18th, 2024 6:00 PM

By Martin Claffey

TD Michael Collins blasts €23m referenda as a waste of money Image
West Cork's Michael Collins is the new leader of the new Independent Ireland Party. (Photo: Karlis Dzjamko)

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THE leader of the Independent Ireland party Michael Collins has taken aim at the €23m cost to hold the constitutional referenda.

And he called the heavy referenda defeats an opportunity ‘to usher in a new era in Irish politics’.

The referenda on care and on the family were both resoundingly defeated, and left the government bruised by the outcome.

In the care referendum, in Cork South West there were 19,486 ‘No’ votes (68.54%) – an overwhelming defeat, though 5% below the national average – and 8,943 ‘Yes’ votes. In Cork North West, 23,217 people voted ‘No’ (73.58%) and 8,335 people voted ‘Yes’.

In the family referendum, there were 10,886 ‘Yes’ votes in Cork South West and 17,555 ‘No’ votes (61.72%) – again below the national average of 67.7%, but an overwhelming defeat nonethless.

In Cork North West, there were 21,133 ‘No’ votes (66.92%)  and 10,447 ‘Yes’ votes.


Deputy Collins said an attempt to downplay the referenda outcome was underway ‘but no one should be under any illusion about how significant this outcome is’.

‘An agenda that was inherently anti-woman, anti-carer, anti-disability rights and anti-marriage was resoundingly rejected by the vast majority of people who saw through the charlatanism of a government that has done nothing but relentlessly antagonise, infuriate and patronise people for the last number of years,’ he said.

‘What’s utterly disgraceful is the cost of this – over €23m – which could have been spent in many other areas crying out for funding. The Taoiseach has stated they are responsible for this referendum, but who is going to be held accountable?’

‘Let us seize this momentous result as an opportunity to usher in a new era of politics – one that prioritises the needs of the people above all else. The people have spoken, and they have had enough.’

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said it was ‘a core strength of our Constitution that the people have the final say. We fully respect their decision.

‘There is no single reason why these proposals were rejected and, like all who supported them, we will reflect on this over time.’

The only other party to advocate a ‘No, No’ was Aontú and its candidate for the European elections, Patrick Murphy, took aim at the lack of government representation when the vote counting was taking place last weekend.

‘The count centres were as empty as the empty words put to the people of Ireland,’ he said.

‘I was absolutely disgusted by the fact that the government parties and the opposition did not have the respect or common decency to go to the count centres and listen to the response of the people of Ireland to the referendum they put to them.’

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