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'EastEnders' Lola plot 'could influence' Irish referendum voters

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An Irish politician has expressed concern that Lola Pearce's EastEnders storyline could influence the result of an upcoming children's referendum.

Voters in the Republic of Ireland are currently preparing for a poll on constitutional change to protect children's rights.

Danielle Harold as Lola Pearce in EastEnders

© BBC

Albert Square sign

© BBC Pictures



The referendum, due to take place on November 10, comes as EastEnders is airing a storyline which has seen teenage mum Lola (Danielle Harold) have her baby daughter Lexi taken into care after being accused of neglect.

However, Robert Troy - children's spokesperson for the Fianna Fáil party - warned that the "EastEnders effect" has led to worry among some voters regarding state intervention.

Troy is quoted by the Irish Examiner as saying: "Quite a few times I have been asked about a storyline on EastEnders where a young mother has had her child taken into care and has faced a very difficult battle to get access to the child.

"People have been emotionally affected by the story and have a real concern about the sort of heavy-handed state intervention that's portrayed."

Troy is seeking to reassure voters that children would only be taken into care in "exceptional circumstances".

Lola breaks down as she holds Lexi.

© BBC

Lola starts to feel that she can't offer Lexi a good life.

© BBC



He added: "We need to be careful about this EastEnders effect. The reality is that one of the reasons why it took a long time to get the wording right on the amendment was because we had to get the balance right and make sure the State didn't get too much power.

"We don't want the situation here to mirror Britain and this amendment will not allow that to happen. That's why it says the State can only intervene in exceptional circumstances, and that even then, the State action must be proportionate."

Last month, the BBC denied setting out to portray social workers in a poor light with the EastEnders storyline following complaints. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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