Social Democrats Councillor Cian O’Callaghan has criticised as deeply undemocratic the decision by the Executive of Fingal County Council to ban events hosted by either side of the referendum campaign from community centres and halls.

Cllr O’Callaghan said:

“It is essential in a democracy that people of different view-points have space to engage in debate and discussion and have the freedom to assemble and associate.

“The edict to ban meetings was issued by the Council following the hosting of a public meeting in a Community Hall in Baldoyle by local Baldoyle residents involved in the Repeal Campaign. It’s important that Community Halls and spaces across the country are welcoming to all sections of the community and that a diverse range of views and beliefs are accommodated.”

Cllr O’Callaghan added:

“I’m strongly advocating a Yes vote in the up-coming referendum – however I would defend the right of all residents and community-based groups to use our local community facilities. Everyone in a democratic republic should have an opportunity to attend events, ask questions and make up their mind about what way to cast their vote. We must not shut our doors simply because there are a range of strong and sometimes opposing views.

“I’m calling on the Chief Executive of Fingal Paul Reid to immediately drop this ban which seeks to stifle democratic discourse and participation. I don’t believe this policy has the support of the elected members of Fingal County Council and I believe that councillors will vote to overturn this ban at the next Council meeting.”

ENDS

14 April 2018

Notes to Editors:

Fingal County Council has published on their website a policy banning Community Centres in Fingal from allowing referendum advocate groups from using the centres to hold meetings.

See Section 2, Fingal County Council supported community facilities shall not be used for:

  • Political gatherings. rallies or assemblies of more than 10 people

http://www.fingalcoco.ie/media/Policy%20for%20use%20of%20Facilities%20Meeting%20Rooms%20and%20Hall%20June%202016.pd