Michael O'Dowd of Disability Voices for Life answers Michael Martin by Life Institute published on 2018-02-12T10:31:51Z Michael O'Dowd of Disability Voices for Life answers Micheal Martin on Today FM, 12 February 2018 "We will not hide our Children away" Parents of children with Down syndrome have expressed anger and hurt at remarks made by Micheál Martin in regard to the participation of their families in campaigns to retain the 8th amendment. Micheal O'Dowd of the group Disability Voices for Life said that the Fianna Fáil leader had 'crossed a line' and 'was trying to silence families' in relation to the debate taking place around abortion and Down syndrome in Ireland. Michéal Martin told the Guardian that concerns regarding babies with Down’s syndrome being aborted was “a bogus argument" and that pictures of people with Down syndrome should not be part of the referendum debate. "We will not hide our children away, and we will not be silenced regarding the devastation that abortion is wrecking on their communities," said Mr O'Dowd. "In the past two weeks, a Save the 8th billboard pointing out that 90% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted in Britain brought some reality to the debate in Ireland. It features Joseph Cronin, a Donegal boy with Down syndrome, and gives a human face to the shocking fact that 90% of babies with the condition have their lives ended before birth in other jurisdictions. "Micheál Martin should listen to Joseph’s mother, Caitriona, who says her family fully supports the campaign. Ms Cronin says that: 'Recently, it has felt like there has been a campaign to silence families like my own, when the cold, hard, facts speak for themselves. In countries with legal abortion along the lines the government wishes to introduce, people like Joseph disappear at astonishing and cruel rates. We want people to see Joseph for what he is - a smart adorable funny little boy who has a right to life here in Ireland when in so many other countries that right to life has been taken away. 90% of people like Joseph are now aborted before birth in Britain, and that means something, it’s not just a number. We want Joseph to grow up in a culture where people with disabilities are loved and valued and cherished. How can that happen when most babies with disabilities are being aborted – when they are no longer being born?'" Mr O'Dowd said that parents had been forced to fight the political establishment tooth and nail for decades to get basic services for people with disabilities, and they would not be silenced in this debate. "It is upsetting and intimidating for families to see politicians come out and tell them that they can't express the facts, or their concerns, or that they can't include their families in the discussion. The days when people with Down syndrome were locked away and their families silenced are long gone, and we will be heard in this referendum," he said.