Yes campaign worried about Children's Referendum coverage

Monday 24 September 2012 19.50
The Yes for Children campaign was launched in Dublin this morning
The Yes for Children campaign was launched in Dublin this morning

Concern has been expressed by Yes campaigners in the Children's Referendum that the absence of any campaign for a No vote will lead to little debate and poor broadcast coverage of the campaign.

Tanya Ward of the Children's Rights Alliance says the 50/50 rule that resulted from the McKenna Judgment is problematic where there is broad support for the referendum.

She said there will not be enough people on the No side to get the debate going so people can understand what the referendum is about.

Ms Ward said she is not really concerned about extremist views coming forward and getting undue coverage, but rather that there will not be media reports and items explaining the detail of the referendum.

Judge Catherine McGuinness of the Campaign for Children agreed that the McKenna Judgment does create this difficulty and there is nothing that RTÉ can do but try to arrange as effective a response to the judgment as it can.

Meanwhile, ISPCC Chief Executive Ashley Balbirnie said no funds used for children's services will be diverted into the campaign for a Yes vote.

He said it is already battling not to reduce services and the last thing it will do is take any money away from existing services.

They were speaking at the launch of Yes for Children in Dublin this morning.

In response to concerns expressed by the Yes side, a spokesperson for RTÉ said this is a significant issue for current affairs debate and interviews.

Peter Feeney said it will be the first item on the agenda of RTÉ's referendum steering group, which meets next Thursday.