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Groups neutral on referendum

The Medical Independent (MI) has contacted all of the doctors’ representative organisations and three major professional bodies to gauge their stance on the referendum. Only the ICGP, which is calling for a ‘Yes’ vote, has adopted a formal position.

The ICGP announced its support for a ‘Yes’ vote in a statement last week. “The ICGP believes that this particular referendum is a civil and human rights matter and on this basis the board of the ICGP is supporting a ‘Yes’ vote.”

CEO Mr Kieran Ryan said the Board acknowledged that the ICGP is not a political organisation. “However, as a professional membership organisation, ICGP believes that it should actively promote the values of equality for all, not only in their professional careers but also in society in general, which this referendum has highlighted,” he explained.

IHCA President Dr Gerard Crotty confirmed to MI that the Association did not have an official position on the referendum, which takes place on 22 May. However, Dr Crotty has retweeted statements in support of the ‘Yes’ side in a personal capacity through his own Twitter account.

The IMO told this newspaper that it had no policy on the issue, while the NAGP said it “does not have an official position on this issue at this time”. RCSI informed MI that voting in the referendum was “a matter for individual citizens,” while an RCPI spokesperson said it doesn’t “advise its members on how to vote during referenda”.

Last week, health professionals including dentists, doctors, midwives, nurses, pharmacists and administrators, along with representatives from Doctors for Equality, the INMO, the ICGP and IMPACT, joined Minister Leo Varadkar and Minister of State Aodhán Ó Ríordáin in a call for a ‘Yes’ vote.

Clarification: this article was adapted on 14 May 2015 at 3.15pm to reflect that only three of the professional bodies were contacted for comment, namely ICGP, RCSI and RCPI

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