Growing disquiet in Dáil over staging of referendum

The Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said the Children's Referendum will go ahead as planned this Saturday, despite calls from five Independent TDs for it to be postponed.

Shane Ross, Mattie McGrath, Finian McGrath, Tom Fleming and Thomas Pringle are urging the Government to pass emergency legislation to put the referendum on hold.

It comes after the Supreme Court ruled today that the Government had spent public money putting out one-sided information in favour of the 'Yes' campaign.

However, independent TD Thomas Pringle, who is advocating a 'Yes' vote, has added his voice to the growing calls for the delay by saying it is important that democracy is served.

Mr Pringle said: "I think democracy is more important and the processes we use to pass referenda is a lot more important than this issue.

"In postponing the referendum, the Government while delaying the implementation of the wording itself would actually be facilitating democracy and I think that is what is more important here."

Fine Gael's director of elections Leo Varadkar has said it won't be deferred.

Mr Varadkar said: "No definitely not and the courts considered that and the courts said the referendum should not be postponed, so it is going ahead and the amendment stands on its merits.

"It is still about protecting children, supporting families and the Yes campaign of fine Gael which is not publicly funded is totally unaffected by this decision and will continue on as normal."

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