The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) are concerned that any delays finalising the wording of the Eighth Amendment referendum would mean that students will be left unable to vote.
The USI fear that if the wording of the referendum bill is not passed swiftly there may be a change in date for the referendum to early June.
“While we welcome the simple wording of the referendum question, we are concerned students sitting state examinations, going on J1s to the States or on work placement in June will be unable to vote,” said Kerrigan.
The Eighth Amendment was introduced 35 years ago, acknowledging “the right to life of the unborn” equal to that of the mother’s in the Irish constitution
“Millions of our young people have not had the opportunity to vote on this issue, and arguably it affects our future generations more than any other,” he added while speaking after the Dáil debate on the issue.
According to DCU Students’ Union President Niall Behan, “the June date would be detrimental to the vote itself – as young people all across Ireland and in the majority of institutions have voiced their support of repealing the 8th”.
Students are also worried, as many have organised their J1s and other summer commitments around the initial date for the referendum, May 25th.
Second year teaching student, Méabh Ní Bhraonáin, said: “I specifically booked flights after the 25th because I thought it totally improbable that the referendum would be set for such a time that we will all be missing”.
“The student population plays such a huge role in the push for repealing the Eighth. In the 80’s it was the student unions that doctors referred women to for information about abortion. When no one else would speak about the issue, it was the voice of students that lead the way.
“The Eighth Amendment does not reflect the values that young people in Ireland hold today. If this referendum fails it will be because students were not given the same chance to have their voices heard as every other citizen,” she added.
Image Credit: Orla Dwyer