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Amnesty Ireland are hoping to host a disco at Dáil Éireann to protest US Vice President Mike Pence's visit to Ireland/

The visit has been moved forward, and Amnesty has began crowdfunding to organise the event in time.

On their crowdfunding page, they said:

“He’ll be in Dublin on the 3rd of September. We want to have a Disco outside the Dáil (at 1pm) in protest. A celebration of all the people that Pence and Trump’s cruel policies are hurting; women, refugees, migrants, and LGBTI people."

They continued;

“We want to show him, and people that support him, that we’re a different country now and that he can’t go back to the USA and say that Ireland supports him, Trump or their policies of hate.

“We’re going to need plenty of colourful banners, a sound system for music, a stage for dancing and maybe even a disco ball! Leftover funds will go to support our other related campaigns.

“And we’re going to invite Mr Pence to our disco. We hope he RSVP’s.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Vice President Mike Pence (@vp) on

Pence is renowned for defending the horrible conditions in US immigrant detention centres recently, and tweeted his excitement at the prospect of celebrating his "Irish roots".

Of course, many Twitter users were highly disgusted at the hypocrisy. His grandfather immigrated to the US from Co. Sligo in 1923, so his anti-immigrant views are even more ridiculous.

Pence’s trip is expected to cost up to €10 million in security costs.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett attended a breakfast with Pence and his wife Karen, which must have been awkward considering the Vice President’s track record on LGBT+ rights.

Pence voted against hate crime laws during his stint in Congress, and has allegedly endorsed cruel gay conversion therapy. His wife also teaches in a school which refuses to accept LGBTI pupils.

Pence opposed the repeal of the US military’s controversial 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' policy in 2010, citing that he did not want to see the military become ‘a backdrop for social experimentation’. Wow.

To make Disco at the Dáil happen, donate here. You can find full details of the event here.

Feature image: Twitter/@AmnestyIreland

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Derry Girls don't just show up for their friends on-screen; the cast have now joined the protest outside Westminster to try and change Northern Ireland's archaic abortion laws.

Nicola Coughlan and Siobhan McSweeney have long been outspoken for their desire to reform the state's justice system when it comes to reproductive rights, and they're women of their word.

In 2018, Lisa McGee's Channel 4 comedy Derry Girls attracted well-earned praise for it's hilarious antics, and fast became the biggest show ever to emerge from Northern Ireland. They're back for season two, and some serving of rights while they're at it;

The show is gearing up for it's return on March 5, and now that the cast have gained a high profile, they intend to use their platform for human rights issues.

Two of the shows leading actors are now in Westminster to march hand-in-hand with Amnesty International, delivering a petition asking for the Northern Irish Secretary of State to change the abortion laws.

Karen Bradley is under the spotlight today, as hundreds gather to support the protest. Polls consistently show that the residents of the province want reform, but politicians up North have refrained from speaking out.

The protest shows women marching across Westminster bridge with 28 suitcases; one for each of the women who still have to fly from the North to Great Britain every week to access abortion in the NHS system.

Protesters have delivered a petition with 62,000 signatories, and are on the Prime Minister and Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley to bring abortion rights to Northern Ireland.

Unless there is a serious risk to a woman's life or health, abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland. Unlike other parts of the Britain, the 1967 Abortion Act does not extend to the North.

Feature image: Instagram/@nicolacoughlan

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 A 'Rats Out of the HSE' protest took place today outside the Department of Health's office in Dublin, following a leak of patient information.

The woman had legally obtained an abortion, but was then phoned and harassed by anti-abortion groups, according to TheJournal.ie

The protesters were calling for better protection of confidential patient information and for an external investigation to be launched after last week's data breaches.

Roughly 12 people took part in the protest at lunchtime, carrying placards and holding cut-out rat masks at Miesian Plaza.

A number of investigations were launched last week into the shocking claims.

A woman had an abortion at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin, otherwise known as Holles Street, and was later verbally abused over the phone by a man who had somehow obtained her personal information.

On Friday, anti-abortion protesters stated that they were given information on when abortions were scheduled to occur at Our Lady Of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

Councillor Éilis Ryan of The Workers’ Party has said the HSE needed to clearly explain the steps it had taken to ensure that staff were providing abortion services in a trustworthy, fair and transparent manner.

"It doesn’t seem that any thought was put into how to change the culture of our hospitals to ensure people who might have anti-choice feelings themselves are not biased in how they carry out their healthcare provision”.

Her worry regarding the ability of our healthcare services to adapt without bias is felt by many.

Health Minister Simon Harris has admitted that an internal probe will take place, but “given the scale of scandals linking to the HSE in recent years we don’t feel that an internal investigation can be trusted or is sufficient”, according to Ryan.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by  (@freesafelegalfilm) on

She feels that Gabriel Scally is trustworthy, after he carried out the Cervical Check screening programme review.

Simon Harris said on Friday  that it was “extraordinarily concerning and disturbing” that a patient’s details of her own abortion could possibly become public.

"The idea that anybody might leak a woman’s confidential information is reprehensible, it is grotesque, it’s disgusting and that is why I asked the HSE yesterday to investigate the matter and report back."

The HSE, the Dublin Well Woman Clinic, the National Maternity Hospital and the Data Protection Commissioner are apparently making inquiries regarding the apparent incident. 

Cover image: Twitter/@michelledevane

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Emotional tributes and forms of creative protest have been occurring worldwide for the 17-year-old woman involved in this week's Cork rape trial, which saw a female barrister use the young woman's underwear as evidence against her.

According to the barrister, the woman's lace thong proved that she was 'open to meeting someone and being with someone', leading to the organisation of mass rallies in support of the victim.

The 27-year-old man accused of raping her in an alleyway was acquitted of rape following barrister's Elizabeth O'Connell's finishing statements.

Among the tributes to the young woman is a hauntingly beautiful rendition of a song, penned by a young woman of similar age to the girl involved:

The video, which was shared on Twitter by her brother John Gaughan, has been steadily gaining in views since it was uploaded.

The lyrics echo the sentiments of outraged women all over the country, who are refusing to accept that underwear can play a part in consent and can also be used as evidence in a court of law.

"What are you wearing underneath? Isn't for you to see unless I want that to be, is that clear?"

"No please, can you stop? That should be enough for you to f*cking wise up, is that clear?"

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Peppermint (@i_am_peppermint) on

"Consent is what we're told, at 17-years-old, is what we wear underneath our clothes. Victims become accused of the crime they didn't do, responsibility is abused."

"We shouldn't have to fear for this to happen to us or someone that we love, is that clear?"

"Something has to change with the mindset of today, it's still not clear."

Anger has spread around Ireland as well as in other countries around the world as a result of the latest controversial rape trial.

ROSA and Ruth Coppinger TD have both requested that strikes occur as a form of protest against the handling of sexual violence cases as well as consent and Irish sex education on International Women's Day.

A review of the handling of sexual assault cases in Northern Ireland been released today, stating that members of the public be excluded from such trials following the high profile Belfast case.

The report, written by retired judge John Gillen and states that access to trials involving serious sexual offences should be confined to close family members of the complainant, the defendant as well the media. 

In the Republic of Ireland system, rape trials are already closed to the public. 

It remains to be seen if any positive consequences will occur as a result of the protests, we hope improvements can be made for the sake of sexual assault and rape victims in Ireland.

Feature image: ABC News

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The Bernard Shaw is a well-known site for political activism: murals dedicated to Savita Halappanavar, the Repeal Movement and the homelessness crisis have appeared in recent times alone.

This week saw a spark of anger which turned into a flame following a controversial Cork rape trial in which a female barrister named Elizabeth O'Connell used a 17-year-old woman's underwear as evidence against her.

As a result, #thisisnotconsent protests took place all over the country, with women and men marching with 'I Believe Her' banners in the air.

The Bernard Shaw's latest activist art piece is dedicated to the young woman whose 27-year-old alleged attacker was acquitted of rape following Elizabeth O'Connell's finishing statement.

The barrister urged the jury of eight men and four women to consider the woman's underwear, which happened to be a lace thong, claiming that the woman "was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone".

The Richmond Street South mural shows painted images of various shapes and sizes of underwear, with each branded with the words 'Not Asking For It.' The work was created by Emma Blake, a street artist and graphic designer, also known as Estr.

The mural's appearance is in support of the solidarity rallies which took place this week, urging the government to change the way in which rape trials are conducted.

Women's rights group ROSA wrote that the judicial consideration of the girl's underwear  as evidence was a "disgrace".

ROSA also stated: "These lines of character accusation and victim blaming are unfortunately a common tactic used in cases before the courts relating to sexual violence."

"The judiciary has proven itself time and time again to be utterly damaging to survivors of sexual violence to seek justice."

 Let's hope these crucial protests lead to the necessary changes to Irish law regarding sexual violence.

Feature image: Channel NewsAsia

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Rihanna has reportedly turned down the opportunity to perform at the Superbowl Half-Time show to show her solidarity with former NFL star and 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, US media reports.

She allegedly is in total disagreement with the NFL's methods, such as their stalled divisive policy regarding the national anthem.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by MEFeater Magazine (@mefeater) on

Kaepernick gained infamy after choosing to kneel during the US national anthem last year, and became the first of numerous NFL stars to protest race inequality and police brutality in America, and is now thr face of Nike's controversial ad campaign.

He has not played in the NFL since early 2017 and is now embroiled in a lawsuit with the organisation- claiming team owners have shunned him for his activism. He has claimed that his political stances have resulted in his total ostracisation, despite race relations in the US currently being far from ideal.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Schanell (@schanellzz) on

The US media is claiming that pop superstar, fashion icon and general Badass Female Rihanna was the first choice for the half-time show, which the likes of Lady Gaga, Prince, Beyoncé and Michael Jackson have headlined.

"CBS and the NFL reached out to Rihanna first, who after thinking about the offer, decided to pass due to the NFL and the situation regarding players kneeling."

Judging by the reactions on Twitter, fans are standing by her side in her decision to protest the NFL’s methods, though many are divided in their opinions.

Her fans continue to stan, and appear to understand the global superstar's reasons.

Maroon 5 have since been chosen as Plan B for the show, which takes place in Atlanta next year.

Cardi B is apparently the favourite to be their guest star, and there are also claims stating that Pink turned the chance down when talks dragged on for too long.

Kween Rih has spoken.

 

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Police in the North have confiscated abortion pills from pro-choice campaigners after a number of women ingested the prohibited drug outside a Belfast court. 

A number of demonstrators gathered outside Laganside Courthouse on Thursday afternoon to protest against Northern Ireland's strict abortion laws. 

The PSNI seized a remote controlled robot that was designed to distribute abortion pills with the support of two providers, Women on Web and Women on Waves. 

According to the Belfast Telegraph, Eleanor Crossey Malone, from socialist feminist movement Rosa, was one of those who took the pill in front of television cameras.

She said: "I have taken this in defiance of the extremely outdated, mediaeval, anti-choice laws that exist in Northern Ireland.

"We are not willing in the wake of the repeal referendum to be left behind any longer.

"Northern Ireland after repeal will be one of only two jurisdictions remaining in Europe to criminalise women effectively for having abortions.

"We are not willing to accept it any more."

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James Cromwell, the actor famous for playing Farmer Hoggett in the movie Babe, has been sentenced to seven days in prison.

The actor was sentenced to serve time at Orange County Jail, after refusing to pay a $375 (€330) fine related to his arrest at a protest in Wawayanda, New York.

The 77-year-old was one of six protestors found guilty of obstructing traffic when they staged an environmental protest, which included a sit-in on the site of a natural gas-fired power plant.

According to People, James was protesting against the carbon emissions that would be emitted by the power plant.

He believes they would have a drastic effect on the local environment, and accelerate climate change.

The LA Confidential star told Variety: “If we don’t stay together, nothing will change. Power to the people.”

James' defence lawyer asked for an appeal in the sentence, which the judge granted.

Mr Cromwell now has until July 14 to pay the fine.

(P.S. Does anybody else love the way he has a pig emoji included in his Twitter name?)

Main image: TMZ

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Dublin Airport has responded to the news of an intended pro-life demonstration by the Irish Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

The centre intends to demonstrate at Irish airports to discourage women from leaving the country to seek abortions, and has sought volunteers and donations. 

The 'airport education project' will hold graphic signs featuring images of what it alleges to be aborted foetuses in an attempt to shock the woman out of leaving for abortions.

 The official Dublin Airport Twitter page has given a response to the potential 'project.'

'In response to queries, under statutory airport bye-laws, the distribution of leaflets, etc and/or the holding of a public meeting or demonstration is prohibited unless approved by the airport.'

'We do not give permission for protests of any type at Dublin Airport.'

Cork Airport has given a similar response.

'Under airport bye-laws any protest is prohibited unless approved by @CorkAirport.'

'We do not give permission for protests of any type, ever.'

Twitter has been in uproar since the news broke yesterday afternoon.

 

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Protestors formed human barricades near the Dame Street area yesterday evening, which stopped cars and vans from parking in cycling lanes.

The cycling campaigners caused huge tailbacks in the city, with many people complaining it took them hours to get home.

The cyclists took to the street at 4.30pm, the top of rush hour in the city, and not many car owners were happy.

According to 98fm, there were a few "heated exchanges" as the 15 protestors stood at a cycle lane on Andrew's Street.

This protest came just as the Irish Road Safety Authority released a new video, showing people what it's like to be a cyclist in the city.

The RSA believe it will encourage drivers to keep a safe distance when passing cyclists.

The cyclists promised to protest again in the next few weeks.

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After the massive success of the Strike 4 Repeal and the Women's March this year, another rally has been organised to bring further visibility to the issue of abortion rights in Ireland. 

The Rally to Repeal is happening on Saturday, June 17, on Dublin's Dame Street.

The rally is being organised by The Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment, an alliance of more than 70 organisations campaigning to repeal the Eight Amendment.

'In 1983 the Eighth Amendment was added to the Irish Constitution,' reads the event description.

'It has meant that abortion is illegal in almost all circumstances, except where there's a substantial risk to a pregnant woman’s life.'

'It also means abortion pills are illegal, even though many women get them online.'

'Almost no women of childbearing age in Ireland have ever had a vote on it, even though it directly affects their lives.'

'Several women have died because of it, including Savita Halappanavar.'

'It must go. The government-appointed Citizens’ Assembly agrees.'

The rally aims to encourage the government to 'hold an immediate referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution in order to respect and protect women’s lives, health and choices.'

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A protest is set to take place today against the government plans to hand ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital to the Sisters of Charity.

The demonstration is set to take place outside the Department of Health at Hawkins House in Dublin this lunchtime from 1-2pm.

The protest aims to notify the government of the feelings that Irish citizens have about the decision. 

Councillor Éilish Ryan from the Workers Party said: 'The decision to grant ownership of the National Maternity Hospital makes a mockery of the supposed neutrality of the Citizens’ Assembly.'

'Do any of us really believe that, if and when the 8th amendment of our constitution is repealed, any new legislation for abortion will be implemented fully in a hospital wholly owned by the Catholic Church?'

'Every week another story emerges of the extraordinary harm done to women by the church, with state complicity, in this country.'

'What good is it to agree, finally, to remove archaic, church-written clauses from our constitution, if we hand over women’s healthcare to that same church?' 

There is a petition underway online in an attempt to draw attention to the issue, which has garnered over 50,000 signatures in 24 hours. 

'The church – and any private body – has no place in the provision of healthcare.'

'Maternity care gets to the root of how we value women in this country, and historically has been where women have been worst treated by our state. Its time for us to change that record,' finished Councillor Ryan. 

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