Both sides of the abortion debate have given their reaction to Google’s decision to ban all ads on the 8th Amendment referendum.
Pro-choice group, Together for Yes, say the move creates a level playing field but pro-life groups have said it is merely an attempt by those on Yes side to ‘rig the referendum’.
Google said its decision to ban all ads relating to the abortion referendum is part of its global election integrity efforts.
The decision follows Facebook’s move to ban all foreign referendum ads.
The no side has criticised the moves, however, and said it is shutting down the debate.
John McGuirk from the 'Save the 8th' group says it’s an attempt rig the referendum.
"There is a reason Together for Yes are celebrating ... they see this as a massive victory for their side of the referendum because this is not something they put an effort into.
"So who are we accusing of rigging the referendum. Government ministers, Yes campaigners and, fankly, a lot of journalists who have been putting immense pressure on these organisations."
“In this referendum, Amnesty Ireland and the IFPA have received over 0,000 in foreign donations. When asked to return an illegal foreign donation, Amnesty refused, and yet Minister @SimonHarrisTD is content to campaign alongside an organization that has broken the law...”— Save Lives. Stop Abortion (@SaveLivesAlways) May 9, 2018
“It is very clear that the Government, much of the establishment media, and corporate Ireland have determined that anything that needs to be done to secure a Yes vote, must be done...”— Save Lives. Stop Abortion (@SaveLivesAlways) May 9, 2018
The Together for Yes campaign have dismissed those suggestions, however, and say Google’s decision creates a level playing field between all sides.
Campaign Co-Director Ailbhe Smyth, said: “We welcome confirmation today from Google that they are going to stop running political advertisements over the next 24 hours. This creates a level playing field between all sides, specifically in relation to YouTube and Google searches, who can now seek to convince the Irish electorate by the strength of their argument and power of personal testimony, not by the depth of their pockets.
“We believe this referendum will be won on facts, and now when undecided voters are searching online, they’ll see the most relevant answers to their questions - not the ones that are paid to be put in front of them.”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has also welcomed the announcement.
There are now just over two weeks left to the abortion referendum with voters taking to the polls on Friday, May the 25th.