Carroll breaks ranks on referendum
A local Fianna Fáil councillor has broken ranks with his party over the upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage.
Cllr John Carroll says he will be voting No in the May referendum and this week expressed disappointment with the Fianna Fáil party line on the matter.
His bold move comes ahead of Fianna Fáil's local convention to select candidates for next year's general election. It is understood that a date for the convention will be confirmed shortly. Cllr Carroll is seen as a potential candidate for TD and has publicly stated that he has come under pressure to seek a nomination.
In a statement this week, Cllr Carroll outlined his position and called on the people of Tipperary to reject the Government proposals in supporting same sex marriages. He said he would be actively working with organised groups and individuals in Tipperary to convince the electorate that the proposals would undermine the long tradition in this country of valuing the family and marriage.
In doing so, Cllr Carroll makes reference to Article 41 of the Constitution, which sets out how 'The State recognises the family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of society, and guarantees to protect the family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order, and as indispensable to the welfare of the nation and the State. The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of marriage, on which the family is founded, and to protect it against attack.'
Cllr Carroll stated: 'Supporting marriage is not about attacking other relationships, but about recognising that it is the bedrock upon which a strong, fair and stable society is built.'
He added: 'Ireland enjoys a proud place in the world because of our adherence to values – family and otherwise – which have stood the test of time. The more we diminish these values, the less cohesive and rooted we will be as a people.'
Fianna Fáil as a party is calling for a Yes vote in the referendum, leader Micheál Martin pledging support for what he termed a 'question of equality'. Cllr Carroll's opposition comes just days after his Fianna Fáil colleague Senator Jim Walsh resigned the party whip over the Children & Family Relationships Bill. The Wexford senator, who is from the conservative wing of the party, tabled several amendments to the bill, which deals inter alia with adoption rights for same sex couples.
Cllr Carroll said he is 'very disappointed' that Fianna Fáil and the other main political parties are supporting a Yes vote
'There seems to be a rush by the main parties and Independents to occupy and promote a liberal left agenda, which would yield a short-term gain for the political class, but would result in undermining the rich family values that our past generations promoted and cherished at all times,' he stated.
'Those in political life must have the courage of their conviction; they must reject the group–think and have honest debate based on real life and real situations.'
The Nenagh area councillor, a member of Tipperary Co Council since 1999, expressed concern over a deconstruction of the traditional family unit - 'along designer lines' - endangering the environment that enables children to reach their full potential.
'Once you start to undermine the principle of marriage, nothing is any longer sacrosanct or secure and our people will be the poorer for it,' he said. 'The family is the bedrock of society. No changing of titles or terminology will alter the fact.'
As a parting shot, Cllr Carroll commented: 'When all of the confusion has died down, when the political parties regain their true calling in life, and when some sections of the media get back to the basics of true journalism, let us hope that we will not have done irreparable damage to our nation, which in the past inspired other nations on the road to greatness.'