Google to ban ads related to referendum on Eighth Amendment

Google will block all advertisements relating to the abortion vote

Campaigners to retain the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution have said the Google decision to ban referendum advertising was taken because of fears the No side will win. Google followed with its own announcement on Wednesday.

The internet search giant says the move will take effect over the next 24 hours, and is part of its global election integrity efforts.

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".

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"This decision is not about "concerns about the integrity of elections", noted the statement.

If Ireland votes in the referendum to repeal Ireland's ban on abortions, women will be able to have abortions up to six months into a pregnancy. Although Irish law bans foreign donations to political campaigns, there had been concerns that overseas campaigners were still able to spend potentially unlimited sums buying adverts targeting Irish voters. That platform is now being undermined, in order to prevent the public from hearing the message of one side. It's not just important for the referendum on the 8th amendment.

McGuirk added that, on the back of today's decision to ban online advertising through Google, it made it more likely that individuals would challenge the result of the referendum in the courts in the event of a Yes vote.

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"We're suddenly being told that we will no longer be allowed to speak to voters on our channels, and we think that is outrageous", McGuirk said.

Instead, Mr Quinn said Google's decision is "completely disproportionate". The company will put a moratorium on all referendum-related advertising on its Google search pages as well as on YouTube in an effort to ensure advertising on its site doesn't tip the vote on the controversial topic.

But Google said it will block all the ads, where she would not have done. "Government ministers, Yes campaigners and frankly a lot of journalists who've been putting vast pressure on these organisations".

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