Yes campaign call out Laois Sinn Féin TD over Referendum campaign work

Brian Stanley insists he campaigned as he did in the same sex and divorce referenda

Conor Ganly

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Conor Ganly

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Sinn Féin Laois TD pledges to 'defy the odds' in 'butchered' Laois Offaly Kildare election changes

Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley with Mary Lou McDonald.

Laois' Sinn Féin TD has come under fire from the Together for Yes abortion referendum campaign over his work for the repeal of the Eight amendment but Brian Stanley has insisted that he actively canvased as he did for the previous divorce and same sex marriage referenda.

In a statement from the Pro-Choice campaign in Laois its co-founder Gearóidín McEvoy said the Sinn Féin TD was not part of the 'fight'.

"We at Laois Together For Yes categorically reject and such suggestion that Mr Stanley was in any way part of the fight for a Yes in Laois. We contacted Mr Stanley on several occasions to seek out his help, to help clarify his opinions on the matter and to ask for him to attend our events. At no point did Mr Stanley make contact with us. 

"We are aware that he may have canvassed on at least one occasion in Offaly. We find it somewhat transparent that Mr Stanley focused his efforts on a Yes vote after the tide had already turned and public opinion had shifted to a Yes as well as the fact that Mr Stanley may have been more concerned about the new drawing of the constituency.

"It is somewhat telling that the time he did spend involved in the campaign was spent in Offaly and not in Laois - where Mr Stanley’s bread is buttered, shall we say," she said. 

She said political support was absent accross all parties.

"We received no political support at all in Laois. The fight from Laois Together For Yes for a Yes vote was entirely grassroots and voluntary work," he said.

Sinn Féin was the only party to force its TDs to endorse a yes vote or be suspended from the party. Dep Stanley complied with his party and insisted that he was active during the campaign. He inidicated his surprise at the position taken by the Yes campaign.

"The direct referral to me alone is unusual, in particular as I was the only TD in Laois that canvassed door to door for a Yes vote.
 
"Many different groups and political entities campaigned on this issue and the campaign did not belong to any particular group.

"For my part, and despite having a busy constituency and Dáil workload, I campaigned on doorsteps on 11 different occasions in Laois and Offaly in the past month.

"I was the party representative across both counties. I congratulate all those people who campaigned for a Yes vote. Laois and Offaly are clear in their desire to Repeal the 8th Amendment.

"I also want to thank all those women, both Yes and No voters, who shared their story with us on the doorsteps over the past month.

"For the record, I also actively campaigned on previous referenda, for Divorce  23 years ago, and same sex marriage in 2015," he said. 

The TD said it was now time to concentrate on the next phase, which is the legislation going before the Oireachtas, and getting the law in place.