DUBLAND, Ireland, May 28, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Sixty-five percent of the 200 pro-life candidates identified by the Life Institute for Election 2014 went on to win seats in the local Irish elections, a result described by the organization as “very positive and hugely significant for Election 2016.”
Life Institute spokeswoman Niamh Uí Bhriain confirmed that 130 candidates who her group identified to voters as pro-life were elected, and that she expected several others to be added to that number when a postponed count had been completed.
“This is a very positive result, and it is, of course, hugely significant for Election 2016. We saw that voters were looking for the best way to cast their pro-life vote and that identifying pro-life candidates in the constituencies allowed voters to make informed choices about their local representatives,” she said.
“Our feedback from candidates and canvassers right around the country from Dublin to Donegal, Mayo to Mallow, confirms that the pro-life issue was raised by voters and was an important factor in how they cast their vote,” she said. “Raising the level of awareness for pro-life voters is hugely important, and we'll be increasing our reach on this for the next election.”
Only candidates who said that they would support the repeal of legislation allowing abortion on suicide grounds were included on the Life Institute list.
Uí Bhriain said that Joe O'Reilly, a Fine Gael TD, had acknowledged on Northern Sound radio that abortion had been a major issue at the door for voters, while in Enda Kenny's own constituency, where pro-life volunteers are particularly active, Fine Gael's seats had dropped from 5 to 2.
“In Leitrim, as another example, Fine Gael lost 6 out of 10 seats while pro-life candidates did particularly well, taking four of the six seats in Carrick-on-Shannon for example,” she said.
“We're seeing this pattern from a great many constituencies. Fine Gael's vote has dropped 30% since the last election and the pro-life vote is clearly a factor in that. Meanwhile, the Labour party which has been pushing abortion non-stop saw a massive downturn of 60% in their vote, which is good news for the move to repeal the Abortion Act.”
“Fine Gael broke their pro-life promise, but we pro-life voters, who pledged never to support Fine Gael again, have not broken ours,” said Uí Bhriain.
The 'Vote Pro-Life' initiative had aimed to reach the 100,000 voters who signed the pro-life petition last year, pledging never to vote Fine Gael again if they legalized abortion. “However, we surpassed expectations, in that we directly reached those very committed voters by mail, email and social media, but we managed to distribute 300,000 'Vote Pro-Life' cards in total, and the message was huge on social media,” said the Life Institute spokeswoman.
She said that the 'Vote Pro-Life' messages were liked and shared more than 40,000 times on Facebook in the 10 days before the election on May 23.
“Fine Gael legalised abortion until birth, against the medical evidence and in the face of huge public opposition,” she said. “Last year, 60,000 marched against abortion in the Rally for Life – there's part of the reason for the 30% drop in the vote for Fine Gael. And this will continue until the Abortion Act is repealed.”