Down Syndrome Ireland issues statement amid debate on the 8th


As debate intensifies in the lead-up to the referendum on the 8th amendment, Down Syndrome Ireland have issued a statement, asking both sides of the campaign to suspend the use of images featuring people with Down Syndrome.

Referring to an article which was featured in The Irish Times on Tuesday, CEO of Down Syndrome Ireland, Gary Owens, explains that an image of a little girl with Down Syndrome was used in a pamphlet by a pro-life lobby group called 'Love Both'.

"This has come on top of a number of references appearing in the media over the past few days where campaigners on both sides of the debate are using people with Down syndrome to present their views," he wrote.

"This is very disrespectful to both children and adults with Down syndrome and their families. People with Down syndrome should not be used as an argument for either side of this debate."

While Mr Owens stresses the organisation's respect for individual opinion, he adds: "We are respectfully asking both sides of the campaign debate, all political parties and any other interested groups to stop exploiting children and adults with Down syndrome to promote their campaign views."

The statement reiterates its support of people with Down syndrome and their families, and reminds campaigners to adopt a respectful tone as the debate on the 8th continues.

Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordan has shared the statement on his Twitter page in a move which has attracted considerable attention on social media today.