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Grace O'Sullivan MEP calls for YES/YES vote on Friday

Green Party MEP for Ireland South, Grace O’Sullivan, has called for people to support a YES YES vote in the two referendums to be held this Friday, March 8th. 

O’Sullivan, who is a single mother and carer, said that, although imperfect, both proposed constitutional amendments were a step in the right direction, and urged voters to turn out on Friday, whatever way they intend to vote.

Grace O'Sullivan with her family

Speaking today, O’Sullivan said: “The two amendments going before the public are aiming to update the Constitution to reflect the reality of Irish society in the 21st century. The 39th amendment aims to broaden the definition of family. And while it will mostly be a symbolic change, it will be an important one to the hundreds of thousands of families in this country that are no less valuable than their neighbours due to their make-up. I should know. After my marriage ended, I returned to Ireland with my three daughters where we lived as our own little family unit in Tramore, as part of our wider extended family, who helped us so much. We worked well together, and were no less a family than any other in the country.

“While legal provisions are in place to support the various types of families outside of the institution of marriage, the fact that our Constitution does not recognise these families is quite shocking. That’s why I’m strongly advocating for a YES vote on Friday.”

On the 40th amendment proposal on care, O’Sullivan said: “Since I was a young girl, the notion that my place in the world was already laid out or limited to certain roles just didn’t sit right with me. It was probably one of the things that pushed me to go against the grain and be so competitive as a teenager. Thankfully the world has changed rapidly since this time, and for the young girls growing up nowadays the sky should be the limit as to their hopes and ambitions for their futures. Removing an archaic concept that the common good of the nation is built on women carrying out their duties in the home is a step in the right direction.”

On the proposed wording on care, she said: “I recognise that this wording has not gone far enough for some people, but as a mother and carer for a daughter with disabilities, I am advocating a YES vote. The amendment places no ‘duty’ of care on families, like the constitutional clause it is replacing placed on women, but recognises the contribution all forms of family care make to the common good. It is a positive amendment, in my view.”

Regardless of people’s views on both amendments, O’Sullivan urged a strong turnout: “Your vote is your democratic voice, and if you feel strongly about these amendments, please turn out and use it. If you are not sure, I would urge you to engage with the Electoral Commission information, and think about the issues before casting your vote on Friday. The information is available on the Commission website if you haven’t received your booklet in the post.”

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