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O’Dea admits to voting No-No in referendums

Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea has admitted that he did not campaign with the Government for a Yes-Yes vote in the recent referendums, and that when he went into the ballot box on Friday, he voted No to both.

The Limerick City TD said that the referendums were ill considered and badly explained and that there was confusion, but not the type of confusion that people are suggesting existed.

“The 44% turnout shows people had looked at this and had made up their minds, but people were confused as to why when the country had so many problems to be getting on with in relation to lack of housing, healthcare and law and order why the Government were diverting time and energy on these referenda for which there were no popular demand,” he said.

Mr O’Dea tweeted this morning that “Fianna Fáil needs to get back to basics & abandon the Hate Speech Bill etc. Focus on Housing, Health and Law & Order and stop playing to the woke gallery. Start listening to the people, stop talking down to them and stop listening to the out of touch Greens & NGOs”.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Mr O’Dea said that there was anti-social behaviour and “horrendous” law and order problems in Limerick which is replicated across the country.

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He said that there was enough law, but too little order in terms of the means to enforce the law.

“The Minister for Justice should be focusing more on that and less on legislation such as preventing hate crime,” he said.

Mr O’Dea added that many TDs across the Government felt that they could not enthusiastically support the referendums and were worried about term durable relationships and how the courts were going to interpret it.

On the care referendum, he said that the concerns were over the removal of the word mother from the Constitution.

He said that in his view, this had “a smack of virtue signalling”, and he “didn’t see anything very substantial in it”.

“I didn’t actively campaign for the Yes-Yes vote, I didn’t feel conscientiously I could. I worried about both referendums,” Mr O’Dea added.

He said that to those who asked about it when he was canvassing for the local elections, he did his best to explain it but said that he voted no in both referendums in the ballot box due to his own reservations.

He added that the result speaks for itself, and many people he met on doors said that they were voting against the Yes-Yes campaign or abstaining because they were unhappy with certain aspects in the way the Government was operating.

He said that he did not know how many in his party held this view, but he felt Fianna Fáil should not have gone along with the referendums.

He said that if a more careful considered approach, such as pre-legislative scrutiny and a clearer or simpler way of explaining what was involved certainly would have altered the figures

“I doubt if anything would have gotten them over the line,” Mr O’Dea added.

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