1000s march for Choice through Dublin on Saturday 26th September - report with videos of speeches



March for Choice on O'Connell street Dublin showing Abortion Right Campaign  Free Safe Legal banner

Thousands of people took to the streets of Dublin Saturday 26th September on the warmest, sunniest day in quite some time, to demand the fundamental right to abortion services on this island. The 4th annual March for Choice, organised by the Abortion Rights Campaign, began with a gathering at the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square.

MCed by comedian and writer, Tara Flynn, who gave a heartfelt speech about her own abortion story followed by more impassioned, angry and emotional words from Annie Hoey from USI, Mara Clarke of Abortion Support Network and Mary La Cambra from the Trade Union Campaign to Repeal the 8th, who revealed that the ICTU has taken a position in favour of repealing the 8th amendment, which keeps abortion illegal in ireland. Then Speaking of Imelda, a direct action feminist performance group, performed as secular bishops absolving us of patriarchy and misogyny

After this the multitudes heeded the closing words of the piece, "Stand tall and speak with your feet", marching down O'Connell St, across the Liffey and around Merrion Square, all the while chanting slogans such as, "Get your rosaries of our ovaries", "What do we want? REPEAL THE 8TH! When do we want it? NOW" and "Smash the Church, smash the State, women must decide their fate", to assemble, overlooked by government buildings, for more speeches including a particularly brilliant one by the very impressive Eileen Flynn from the Irish Traveller Movement, and Clare Daly, who spoke of plans to table legislation that would provide for a referendum on the 8th - this is welcome news but it seems unlikely to make headway in the dáil, though we can hope. She also mentioned Farmers for Choice, which goes to show the diverse level of support for action on the issue, in the face of government inaction.

Other speakers included: Emma Campbell, Alliance for Choice; Sinead Redmond, AIMS Ireland; Valerie Molayfrom, AKiDwA (migrant support group); Mary Favier, Doctors for Choice; Colm O'Gorman, Amnesty International; Justine Murphy, Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC). (Videos at end of page)

Access to abortion for people living in Ireland is currently divided on class lines, people with the privileges of money and the ability to travel can access services in other countries, but no one else can. This needs to end. Repeal the 8th!

WORDS: John Roche

Dublin city centre came to a halt Saturday as thousands of people marched for choice and against Ireland's anti-women law that would jail people who access abortion here for up to 14 years.

The key demand is to Repeal the 8th Amendment which was passed at the height of clerical control back in 1983. So long ago that nobody who voted on it would now be in a position to even become pregnant. More that 2/3rd of the population want abortion to be decriminalised, only 25% want the current criminalisation to remain yet Enda Kenny has announced he has no intention of introducing a referendum to Repeal the 8th.

In the meantime 12 people a day have to travel to the UK for beyond to access abortion while an unknown number risk a prison sentence by ordering abortion pills off the internet and self-administering at home in Ireland. A women in the north which has similar laws is being prosecuted for supplying the pills to her own daughter.

It might suit Kenny's electoral interest's to allow this deplorable situation to continue but there are real consequences of that calculation every day as people make what is often an expensive and difficult journey to access medical care they should be able to access here.

Our video report from the march

Tara Flynn on telling her abortion story

Maria Clarke of the Abortion Support Network

Anne Hoey of the Union of Students in Ireland

Mandy La Combre from the Trade Union Campaign to Repeal the 8th

Speaking of IMELDA

Colm O'Gorman

Clare Daly

Valerie Molay

Sinead Redmond of AIMS Ireland

Mary Favier speaks for Doctors for Choice

Emma Campbell of Alliance for Choice

Justine Murphy of the Abortion Rights Campaign

WORDS & VIDEO: Andrew Flood (Follow Andrew on Twitter )