No Campaign Releases Explanation of Decision to Remove Abortion Information
A post has appeared on the Fight4Katie/Vote No campaign Facebook page detailing the events that led to the reprinting of the fresher’s magazine ‘Wingin’ It’. In the post, a timeline of events leading to the reprinting of the magazine is presented as shown in the image below.
Image Above: The post from the Fight4Katie page.
In the post Ms Ascough says that the some of the content of the Winging It handbook had already been written before she came into office. The post also states that it was the Campaigns and Communications Officer Barry Murphy who was responsible for the Wingin’ It, not the President. The post goes on “Knowing that it contained explicit information on where to access abortion I delegated the sign off of the handbook to the C+C Officer. However, the editors of the book failed to inform me that the distribution of the abortion information was illegal’.
This does not line up with Mr Murphy’s report in the SU Executive Council Minutes which stated “On the day before deadline Katie was asked to look at the book several times. · I did not request Katie to look at page 59 [page where the abortion information was present] specifically. When seeing the page – Katie agreed to keep [the] page.”
The post goes on to outline the events from August to where a member of staff pointed out the illegality of the information printed after the books had been delivered to the SU. It mentions that it would have been illegal for anyone to hand out the original version of Wingin’ It which is why Ms Ascough says she made the executive decision not to hand out the books. The post also states that 3 out of the 4 executive officers wanted to distribute the books with the illegal information anyway and that it was Ms Ascough who made the executive decision to not distribute the books. She explained ‘I could not stand over the risks involved for the company, the team and myself personally’.
With regard to the cost of reprinting the books the post states that Ms Ascough ‘asked the team to consider posting the corrected version online to save reprint costs of approximately €7,000. However, they insisted that a reprint should be ordered’. According to the Mr Murphy’s report in the Executive Minutes “If the book had not been reprinted, the sponsorship money would have needed to be refunded. This would cause issue in the future with these sponsors and further cause repetitional damage.”A full report on these minutes can be found here.
Regarding the impeachment referendum, the post states ‘A one sided story of false accusations was then leaked to the national media and a small but vocal group of students called for my impeachment despite having no legitimate grounds to do so’.
Speaking to the Tribune Dani Desio, spokesperson for UCD for Choice said ‘We hope that students make an informed decision when voting next week, and it is concerning to see a campaign altering its story more than once when the facts have already been presented. Continuing to misinform merely compounds the issue of why students are seeking impeachment. Ultimately, however, UCD for Choice is focused on the big picture. We would rather pay attention to ensuring students are registered to vote for the national referendum. We will continue to share information necessary to help those in crisis. Our goal is safe, legal abortion access in Ireland and while we support the impeachment we cannot lose sight of our larger goals.’
Rachel O’Neill – Editor