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repeal the 8th

By Anna Murray

I was your typical Irish mammy heading to the O’Reilly Theatre on Thursday night. I wore pink and told my sister to wear pink too. We weren't the only ones, of course, because it turns out feminists DO wear pink but they also wear anything else they want. I brought my book and made my partner take a million pictures. I gushed at the number of lads who attended because Irish men are UNREAL allies. I wished my 5-year-old daughter was old enough to attend and understand the significance of being in the presence of these gals who were changing the world, one interview at a time.

Scarlett Curtis is as gorgeous, adorable and fierce in real life as she is on her podcast. I was so excited to see Saoirse Ronan, THE voice for my generation of Irish women in the public eye. I cried because Sinéad Burke, Irish fashion writer, primary school teacher and activist blew me away with her strength, beauty and mesmerising knack for public speaking.


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The two guest speakers were fresh off the Met Gala pink carpet, Sinéad being the first EVER little person to attend, dressed in stunning Gucci. After a hilarious set by comedian Grace Campbell (which centred around clitorises and cornflakes), the three speakers delved into a discussion about representation in high places within the fashion and film industries. The determination in their voices made me confident that the world is becoming better at accepting, better at encouraging and an all-around better place for my daughter and her generation to inherit.

Here are some of the key points I took away from the Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies) podcast, live from Dublin.  


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Irish women are a force to be reckoned with

Sinéad silenced the room by asking us to ‘remember this time last year?’

You could feel the intake of breath. "We didn’t know and the loudest voices told us it was going to be a no," she said. That hit hard and many of us felt the familiar sting of Repeal tears we had held back over and over again last May. Scarlett told us that the women of Ireland gave her hope and comfort with their bravery as she sat in her apartment in New York, at a time where American women were feeling less valued every day.

Feminism MUST be intersectional

If we took anything away from the evening, it was that intersectional feminism is the only feminism. Try not to focus simply on the disparities between men and women. Listen to people of colour, the disabled community, the LGBTQ+ community and any other group that can use feminism as away to gain support and understanding. Learn what you can about the struggles of individuals and as Sinéad pointed out, go looking for it. Follow Instagram accounts that promote the visibility and representation of everyone. Why wouldn’t we join forces to create this immense power that’s hell-bent on the representation of ALL kinds?


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Confidence Is EVERYTHING

Saoirse Ronan spoke about the strong women in her life and how they helped her believe she could do anything. Scarlett Curtis spoke about surrounding herself with like-minded, strong women who encouraged her feminist journey. Sinéad Burke encouraged us to ask for things want. A woman won’t apply for a job if she only meets 90 percent of the required criteria. A man, on the other hand, will give it a go if he meets 10 percent. "Think you’re the shit because everyone else does," she told us.


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We need boys

Men and boys have a central role to play in the strive towards gender equality. Not simply as allies nodding their heads in agreement, but to improve their own lives too. Two fab suggestions were offered when an audience member asked how she could teach the feminist message to boys in her primary school class. Sinéad Burke, a primary school teacher herself, spoke about the significance of representation in books, workbooks and classroom materials.

Have a poster showing a diverse team of firefighters hanging on your wall when teaching about jobs and careers. Though it may take more time, print off worksheets that show the diversity of all kinds. Small things matter. Scarlett suggested that since many of us have discovered feminism within our own struggles, to explain to boys how this ideology will personally benefit them by creating a world where their vulnerability and individuality is cherished.


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Of course, I could go on and on about this panel, that I was lucky enough to see. I could talk for days about the importance of these discussions and to makes sure there are ALL KINDS of people at the table when they happen. We all deserve to be at these tables and in these rooms. The world needs the input of everyone to become a better place. 



Former co-directors of the Together for Yes campaign have been featured on Time magazine’s list of most influential people.

Grainne Griffin, Ailbhe Smyth and Orla O’ Connor are said to be thrilled to feature in the TIME 100 list.

They stand alongside Jacinda Ardern, Brie Larson, Taylor Swift and Greta Thunberg.

The women were recognised for their efforts in leading the Together For Yes campaign during the abortion referendum in Ireland in 2018.

Ruth Negga penned a touching note for Time magazine about the impact the campaign has had on the country.

She wrote: “In May 2018, Irish society voted to lift the near-total ban on abortion that had been in place for 35 years. Society gave its overwhelming blessing to the fundamental rights of women and girls to bodily autonomy, after generations of secondary status, largely dictated by the power and oppression of the Catholic Church.”

The actress praised the activists: “Together for Yes, the campaign to repeal the eighth amendment to the Irish constitution, put the Mná na hÉireann (women of Ireland) front, centre and in control of their own bodies and rights like never before.

“It was breathtaking to witness the determination, intelligence and sheer hard work of its leaders Grainne Griffin, Ailbhe Smyth and Orla O’Connor, who mobilized people of all different backgrounds in the lead-up to the vote. They put the experiences of women and the needs of their country first.

“Their incredible tenacity and integrity and courageousness will be an inspiration for generations to come,” she added.

Huge congratulations to Grainne Griffin, Ailbhe Smyth and Orla O’ Connor and everyone involved in the Repeal the 8th campaign.

Feature Image: Niall Crason/PA



The HSE is set to launch an investigation after details of a woman’s medical abortion were leaked in Dublin this week. The woman was reportedly targeted by a pro-life group who somehow managed to get details of her hospital records.

The woman took to a Facebook group to warn others of a fake counselling service. The message has since been shared on Twitter.

The woman explained that she had had a medical abortion on Monday in a Dublin hospital. She shared that after everything had passed she had an internal scan and she was good to go home.

She was told that she wouldn’t need any more scans.

The woman then explained that she received a phone call from an number she did not recognise: “I got a phone call saying to rebook a scan. He gave me my name, my address and told me to come in on Monday.”

The woman then got a text saying where to go, but she felt like something wasn’t right. She then rang the hospital who said they knew nothing about the call.

“I rang him back and I asked who he was and he said my options, but then he started shouting abuse at me saying I was disgusting for what I had done.”

She warned others that the place he was telling her to go is trying to stop women from having abortions and claimed that ‘no voters’ are behind it.

“I want girls to be majorly aware. It scared me,” she added.

A spokesperson for Minister Harris has called for the HSE to investigate the leaked information. They told The Journal:  He has asked the HSE to investigate the alleged breach of patient information. The Minister has been quite clear abortion services should be viewed as a normalised part of the health service and women accessing that service should not be subjected to any intimidation or harassment."



The helpline which was set up by the HSE to offer information on unplanned pregnancies to women was reportedly "busy but not overwhelmed" on it's first day yesterday.

The HSE set up the MyOptions helpline in order to act as the main referral path for women seeking abortion services.

On the first day of operation services available nationwide, 20 women sought an abortion according to GPs who have agreed to carry out the services.

The exact level of demand will not be known yet for another number of weeks.

The Irish Times reports that it will be next week at least until the first terminations can be carried out, as a result of the three-day 'cooling-off' period.

The first cases which were referred to doctors ranged from upwards of four weeks' gestation.

In terms of cases which are close to the 12-week limit, they will be facilitated with same-day appointments at the nearest maternity unit.

The flow of Irish women who are travelling to the UK for abortion services is expected to continue, though at a reduced level, as abortions over 12 weeks are not permitted under Irish law except under highly limited circumstances.

The Minister for Health will be notified of the amount of terminations performed within 28 days. 

A number of minor teething issues have arisen involving blood testing procedures and ultrasound provision.

Simon Harris has said;

“The level of preparedness varies, but the initial experience with the HSE’s helpline has been very positive."


Abortion in Ireland has been officially legalised.

After much consideration, President Michael D. Higgins signed the new legislation on abortion today.

Higgins previously reviewed the Health Bill 2018 (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) and decided this was the best foot forward for the country.

According to The Independent, the final steps will be taken by Health Minister Simon Harris, an avid advocate for the bill’s passing, tomorrow.

He said he needs to sign a number of legal instruments to enact the law.

The new law is well-received by a number of Irish citizens that have been fighting for their right to decriminalise abortion.

Abortion services will begin in January and the legislation will allow for unrestricted medical abortion up to twelve weeks.

It will also legalise abortion for women facing tragic situations, whose unborn baby has been diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality.

Now, mothers who face a risk to life or serious harm to their health will have access to abortion as well.

Abortion services will be free to all women.

The government has also established a counselling helpline and directions to the nearest service provider from January 1.

This law has broken boundaries and progressed life for women in Ireland farther than ever before.



The Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy bill has been officially passed.

All of the amendments have been voted and the bill for the 8th Amendment is on its way to Aras an Uachtarain to be signed by Michael D Higgins. 

The bill passed with 27 votes to 5.

The new law will allow abortion to take place up to 12 weeks, and after that  time if there is a foetal abnormality detected or danger to the woman's health.

Minister for Health Simon Harris confirmed the vote passed in a post on social media.

He wrote, ''Just over 200 days ago, you, the people of Ireland voted to repeal the 8th so we could care for women with compassion. Today we have passed the law to make this a reality. A vote to end lonely journeys, end the stigma and support women’s choices in our own country.''

The people of Ireland took to the polls last May to make abortion legal and now it will be from January 1. 



Dr. Rhona Mahony has pledged that women whose unborn babies have fatal foetal abnormalities will be offered terminations from January at the National Maternity Hospital.

As the hospital's master, Mahony made the claim after it came to light that some maternity hospitals and GPs won't be ready to begin extended abortion services from January.

A spokesman has said that staff are "working to ensure we have a full, safe and compassionate service in place as quickly as possible".

Dr. Mahony's spokesman continued;

"Notwithstanding the outstanding logistical issues, we expect to provide termination of pregnancy in situations of fatal foetal anomaly from January 1."

Minister for Health Simon Harris rejected implications that the January target for abortion services was aligned with politics, and has commented that this claim was 'offensive'.

He added that the services will not be available everywhere straight away, and that it needed time to embed and evolve with the help of clinicians. 

Yesterday, the Seanad continued with their debate on the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill.

Dr Sharon Sheehan, master of the Coombe hospital, has commented that her new system of service won't be ready by January.

She said; "To ensure the provision of "safe, high-quality, sensitive and compassionate care for women", it is essential to have the finalised legislation in place, an agreed model of care nationally and national clinical guidelines.

She continued;

"There has been extensive work, and that is continuing to proceed at a pace, but they are not ready and we now have only 20 days before this service is to be introduced.

"In my opinion, the country is not ready, and therefore the Coombe is not in a position to deliver these services from the January 1."

The Rotunda maternity hospitals spokeswoman commented that;

"Rotunda Hospital will be complying with enacted legislation providing the appropriate model of care, resources and funding is in place to enable a safe service provision to women".

The Irish Family Planning Association has also said that an exact date of availability for abortion services cannot yet be offered;

"We are still working on a number of outstanding issues. We're working to resolve them as quickly as possible and we're making good progress. We won't delay in providing abortion care once that's done".

The Irish College of General Practitioners and the Institute of Obstetricians are set to meet today for the discussion of clinical guidelines which are seen as essential for doctors.

A 24/7 helpline will hopefully be advertised by the HSE once the legislation is passed for guiding women, GPs and hospitals.

Feature image: BusinessPost.ie



It has been reported that GPs will receive up to €450 if they participate in the Government’s new abortion service programme.

A source told the Irish Times that the Irish Medical Organisation, HSE and Department of Health met to discuss fee costs for GPs who provide abortion services in Ireland.

It is believed GPs will be given between €400 and €450 for every three appointments with women who want to have an abortion.

Simon Harris has vowed to ensure that abortion services will be free in Ireland. He said the services will be available for all women from all financial backgrounds.

He said he wants the services to be available to everyone who needs them. The Minister for Health said cost should not be a barrier for women who need these services.

The Health Minister confirmed: “Yes, it is my intention that the services will be free.”

Ireland’s constitutional ban on abortion was officially lifted on September 19.

The 8th amendment was removed from the Irish Constitution, as President Michael D Higgins signed the formal repeal legislation.  

The 36th Amendment of the Constitution reads:

'Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.'

The Government are hopeful that abortion services will be made available in Ireland from January 1, 2019.


Not many of our peers can say that we have read the full Irish Constitution, and yet it’s the most important political document in a country’s legislature.

Following the removal of the article regarding blasphemy, and of course the 8th Amendment, it’s time to turn back to the Irish Constitution, and examine what is left to be done to bring this document straight into the 21st century.

To start, the sexism, elitism and reductionist standards are alien to modern life, and the Irish people deserve a legal document which accurately represents all of its citizens.

In case we have forgotten from secondary school political history classes, Bunreacht na hÉireann was drafted way back in 1937, by the hugely conservative Éamon de Valera, who perfectly represented the conservative Catholic Church-state environment of the era.


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By writing a new Constitution, de Valera embarked upon a very risky political strategy considering Irish political life at the time was hugely volatile. It replaced the Irish Free State Constitution of 1922, and therefore erased Article 3 which guaranteed “discrimination without distinction of sex.

He revitalised his dream of Catholic women serving good, Catholic men in the home. Religious leaders also had a far-too-big input into the Constitution, including men who are now recognised as protecting child abusers.

Now, of course the entire religious community of Ireland weren't involved in abuse scandals, but it's important to note that a large group of them were, and were protected for years to the detriment of abuse survivors.

The Constitution has caused many a controversy, among them is the X case, where a young woman who was raped was denied the right to travel to the UK for an abortion. This was changed officially in 1992, as the 14th Amendment.

The right to divorce was only ratified in the mid-1990s, and even then partners had to be officially separated for four years. An annulment was next to impossible to get, even for those who were stuck in situations of abuse.


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The protection for the life of the unborn still causes turbulence, seeing as it dramatically impedes female healthcare even outside of reproduction.

The legislation repealing the 8th has yet to come into practice, and is showing no sign of entering the healthcare system anytime soon despite it's valuable victory which took in 66 per cent of votes.

The right for members of the LGBQ+ community to marry was only passed in 2015. You cannot run for President until you turn 35, which would have ruled out some of Ireland’s major political candidates in the 1930s.

As recently as 2015, a shocking 73.1 per cent of the population voted against reducing the age to 21. Irish law appears to believe that age brings wisdom, rather than actual experience.


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Many members of Irish society struggle with the union of the Catholic religion with the Constitution. It’s completely saturated with it. The opening lines to this day read:

“In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred, We, the people of Éire, Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ.”

The oath sworn by the President of Ireland is “under almighty God.”

Article 44 on religion enshrines freedom of worship, but also notes that “The State acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God. It shall hold His Name in reverence, and shall respect and honour religion.”

So there’s not much room for expansion there, to say the least.

I mean, seriously? Four million inhabitants on the island, and the Constitution fails to separate Church and State, fails to acknowledge that there is another religion besides Catholicism, and other nuanced beliefs and practices.

Ireland is a diverse place, an Emerald Isle of nationalities and cultures, yet this piece of paper essentially only benefits elite, Catholic men in upper class positions. Like Éamon De Valera. Who had ZERO LAW EXPERIENCE.


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Éamon De Valera cast a shadow over Irish women when he drafted it by ignoring pleas from Irish women’s councils to aid in writing the charter.

One of the most intensely problematic, not to mention out-dated articles is 41.2 the infamous ‘women’s place in the home’ section of the Constitution. By now there are zero doubts as to the sexism surrounding the enshrined words.

It reads as follows:

In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.

The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.”

This essentially claims that women are needed to carry out their housework duties and care for children so that the real work (by men) can be carried out elsewhere, i.e. running the damn country. The duties of the home are elevated far above labour outside of domesticity.

Image: Oireachtas

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan says that the issue of Article 41.2 is primarily one of gender equality, and it’s next to impossible to disagree with him. The article limits the role of women entirely, and completely rejects the notion of men as carers and fathers, which is also unfair.

Men must take responsibility as carers of those who are vulnerable in society, not simply children. The elderly, disabled people, sick relatives and friends are all part of this category, which places most of the burden on women alone for their seemingly ‘nurturing qualities’.

The contention surrounding the article is whether or not to replace it with an alternative, or just delete it altogether. We’re thinking… DELETE.

The emotional and difficult referendum on the 8th amendment has had a clear impact on Irish society, especially on Irish women, who have recognised the inequality which still plagues our country, such as sexual assault and violence, discrimination and unequal pay.

The Constitution Bill (38th Amendment) must make its way through both houses of the Oireachtas before the Irish people can have their say on Article 41.2 via a referendum.

Independent TD Clare Daly said in response to Charlie Flanagan that she “feels like laughing, to think that you see yourself as a champion of gender equality given some of the decisions of your government.”

Image: Oireachtas

Another Independent representative Mick Wallace added his own negative comments to the pile:

“I find it interesting that you speak of gender equality in the workplace when the greatest barrier to that equality is the cost of childcare and your government has done bugger all about it.”

Ireland has the second highest-price of childcare in the OECD, meaning that it is still mostly women who struggle to return to work following pregnancy as the costs of childcare make the situation impossible.

Orla O’Connor, acting Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, later added that Article 41.2 “has not supported the home and family, and in our opinion has diminished the position of women” in Irish society.

Dr Laura Cahillane of the University of Limerick’s school of law described the Article as “an embarrassment”, as well as “effectively useless in law”.

A Constitution is meant to embody the moral and legal aspirations of an entire country and it’s individual citizens, we shouldn’t forget this. Women have the most to gain from changes to the Constitution.

All of the civic service committee members which Éamon de Valera employed in order to help him draft the document were men.

Archbishop of Dublin John Charles McQuaid as well as the head of the Supreme Court were two major influences, both male. Only three women were TDs during this time, and none of them said a word during the Dáil debate on the matter.

Essentially, we aren’t part of this document, and this document isn’t part of us. We make up half of this population, and yet not a single word of the parchment portrays the female experience.



Health Minister Simon Harris has confirmed abortion services will be free in Ireland. He said the services will be available for all women from all financial backgrounds.

He said he wants the services to be available to everyone who needs them. According to the Irish Examiner, he said cost should not be a barrier for women who need these services.

The Health Minister confirmed: “Yes, it is my intention that the services will be free.”

"I've said from the start that I don't want cost to be a barrier, because if cost is a barrier you get into a situation where one of two things happen, you get abortion clinics to develop or you can see people having to continue to travel,” he commented.

"I want this to be provided as part of our health care system, our public health care system and part of our primary health care system,” he added.

Ireland’s constitutional ban on abortion was officially lifted on September 19.

The 8th amendment was removed from the Irish Constitution, as President Michael D Higgins signed the formal repeal legislation.  

The 36th Amendment of the Constitution reads:

'Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.'




It is understood that The Cabinet will sign off on the legislation to legalise abortion today.

The new legislation will give women the option to terminate a pregnancy up to the twelfth week.

Women will be able to request an abortion through a GP or primary care service. Following the appointment, there will be a 72-hour consideration period.

Women will then return to their GP and don’t have to give a reason for their decision.

A GP must confirm that they are not passed the twelfth week of pregnancy.

Termination will be allowed past 12 weeks if:

The woman's health is in danger or her life is at risk

The foetus has not reached viability

It is appropriate to carry out the termination of pregnancy in order to advert that risk

The new legislation could also see a ban on protests near areas where abortions take place.

Minister Simon Harris will also address the Cabinet about the cost of abortion in Ireland. He believes that the price should not prevent women from accessing abortion.
It is believed the legislation will be passed before the start of 2019.



Last Friday, the people of Ireland voted overwhelmingly in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment with the final count coming in at 66.4% Yes, 33.6% No.

Crowds flocked to the grounds of Dublin Castle to hear the final result, which was revealed just after 6pm on Saturday evening.

And as thousands of 'Yes' voters celebrated the historic result, one woman, who had been campaigning for abortion rights since 1978, came equipped with a very suitable snack – After Eights! 


Me: Have you been campaigning? Her: Since 1978!

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After a while, it seemed like everyone as Dublin Castle was tweeting about After Eights, making it the unofficial symbol of the referendum result. 

The head office even respond to the increased demand!