A Fathers4Justice campaign calling for the recognition and protection of the rights of the father in relation to the unborn child is now likely to go ahead in Cork, it emerged tonight.
The proposed Fathers4Justice (F4J) campaign will see the group entering the 8th Amendment debate with a Bus Eireann campaign featuring a picture of a man cradling a new born child with the words ‘a father is for life not just conception’ above a ‘Change The 8th’ logo.
The group have said the proposed campaign will run for six weeks on Bus Eireann single decker buses in Cork from 5th December before being rolled out across the country.
F4J founder Matt O’Connor said the campaign was calling for an eighth amendment that would give adequate protection to the rights of the father.
‘It takes a man and a woman to create a child, yet there is no recognition of this in the constitution. If there is a referendum on the eighth amendment, the question of the rights of the father needs to be considered. Why should dads be given no choice when it comes to the unborn child?’
‘Fathers are held financially liable and emotionally responsible if the baby is born, they are expected to love and nurture their children, yet they are expected to remain silent if an unborn child is aborted without their knowledge or consent.’
Irishexaminer.com have seen correspondence indicating the campaign has been approved, subject to payment, by ExterionMedia, the agency who handle outdoor advertising for CIE companies.
Mr O'Connor said he was saddened at some of the negative commentary and reaction which met news of the campaign when it was revealed bylast week.
"Debate means listening to both sides of an argument and arriving at a position. Trying to control the debate and exclude the voice of fathers is unhelpful to everyone, especially when dads may be asked to vote on this issue at some point in the future. This dictatorial, intolerance smacks of fascism."
Mr O'Connor asked that everyone not lose sight of the purpose of the campaign which is simply to "start a debate about whether the 8th Amendment should be changed to recognise and protect the rights of fathers in relation to the unborn child."
He went on: "Our consultation will continue until early 2017 when we will publish our policy and any proposed amendment to the 8th - if this is what we determine should happen. We would expect any referendum to include a question about fathers rights in it, and would legally challenge (Judicially Review) it’s exclusion.
"We will look to expand the democratic debate on fathers’ rights through conventional and unconventional means in the coming months," Mr O'Connor concluded.
Reacting to the news Bus Eireann released the following statement:
"The CIÉ Group Companies outdoor advertising is managed by Exterion, and CIÉ companies have no role in the booking or approval of advertising copy.
"CIÉ and its subsidiaries are the property owners of the advertising medium, and the messages and campaigns that are booked through Exterion are not endorsements.
"The relationship is commercial in nature between the advertiser and Exterion, who sell the advertising space on our behalf.
"Thousands of advertisements are run annually across our buses and stations – by commercial organisations, charity groups and voluntary bodies.
"CIÉ and Exterion are signatories to the ASAI (Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland ) code, which ensures members of the public have an opportunity to raise concerns about any advertising, which they feel does comply with the code's provisions."
Reacting to the news tonight the CorkProChoice group released a statement on their facebook page in which they described the decision as "appalling". The statement can be read in full on the Cork Pro Choice facebook page.