On May 22nd we are being asked to vote on the 34th and 35th amendments to our constitution.
I suspect there’s just a handful of people left who don’t know which box they’d tick in the booth.
I’ve no interest in debating the merits of yes or no with you. We are adults, most of us, at least, have a rational mind that can make decisions without a poster, a debate or a mud-slinging match. To be honest, it’s already gotten quite ugly and we’ve weeks ahead where I don’t see it improving.
What I would like to consider is voter apathy. I consider the Irish electorate to be in a very lucky position that our constitution requires our response when considering a change to it. Yet so many of us fail to be heard.
If somebody shouted you down, didn’t ask what you wanted in a restaurant or told you how to live your life, you’d be livid. Yet when it really matters in Ireland we often couldn’t be bothered to speak up.
What kind of country would you like to live in? What kind of society do you want for pass on to your children? Voting is the most important thing you can ever do for your state.
In 1995 the referendum to change the law on divorce passed by a margin of just 9,114 votes. That’s less than 0.4% of the people eligible to vote on the day. In 2002, the referendum on the protection of human life in pregnancy was passed by a similar margin. Every referendum defeated in the past 22 years was defeated by a margin of less than 4%.
These numbers matter. This is your country, this is your future. Please take this opportunity to make a difference where you can.