Next month on Friday 25 May, Ireland will hold a referendum on the repeal of the eighth amendment of the Irish Constitution. The Irish Constitution was amended in 1983, equalising the life of mother and unborn foetus, thus rendering abortion illegal in the Republic.
The journey to this referendum has been an unsettling one for Ireland and for Irish women and the Repeal The Eighth movement gained momentum after the death of pregnant mother Savita Halappanavar in 2012. Since then there have been endless heated debates between pro-choice campaigners and representatives of the Catholic Church and other strongly antiabortion groups.
Ireland is not long past its ‘Yes’ vote for the Marriage Equality Act, and there has been a noticeable increase in interest from the Irish diaspora. As the UK is the main location where Irish women travel to to undergo the procedure, there is a particularly strong connection felt by the UK Irish to the topic. Those Irish in the UK who can still vote in Irish referenda are being encouraged to return home to have their say.
Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of Irish people here who are ineligible to vote in Ireland are actively joining in the conversation and they have plenty to say.
The Women’s Irish Network (WIN) is a voluntary organisation which sets out to empower, educate and improve the lives of women. To that end it is holding an event in London on Wednesday evening at 7.00 pm to bring together two well informed voices on the Repeal the Eighth debate: Rhona Mahony, Master of Holles St Hospital Dublin, and Dearbhail McDonald, lawyer and Group Business Editor of Independent News & Media, who has written extensively on the subject. The conversation will be chaired by BBC broadcaster Maxine Mawhinney.
This event is invitation only so should you wish to attend please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more info on WIN go to www.womensirishnetwork.com
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