25/01/2018

Down Syndrome 'Should Not Be Used As An Argument' In Repeal Debate

People with Down syndrome should not be used as an argument for either side of 8th Amendment debate, Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI) has said.

The national voluntary organisation has responded to an article that appeared in the Irish Times highlighting the fact that a pro-life lobby group called Love Both is using an image of a little girl with Down syndrome on campaign pamphlets, which are being distributed to households.

It is understood that this follows a number of references appearing in the media over the past few days with campaigners on both sides of the debate are using people with Down syndrome to present their views.

In a statement released on their website, the DSI said: "This is very disrespectful to both children and adults with Down syndrome and their families. It is also causing a lot of stress to parents. People with Down syndrome should not be used as an argument for either side of this debate."

DSI said that it believed that it was up to each individual to make their own decision about which way to vote in the upcoming referendum.

The statement continues: "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.

"We would also like to remind campaigners on both sides of the debate that people with Down syndrome listen to the news and read media articles, including social media content. We ask that the tone of the debate is respectful towards all people with disabilities.

"As always, Down Syndrome Ireland will continue to support people with Down syndrome and their families throughout Ireland. If you require any support, please contact us on 01- 4266500."

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