AFTER EIGHT

So how did it feel to be part of the historic Irish vote? We asked one of our best bitches, Niamh Kelly.

We came, we saw, we wore the t-shirt. We repealed the 8th.

Friday 25th May 2018, was a historic victory for Irish feminists, who had been campaigning for the 8th amendment’s repeal ever since it was passed in 1983. The Catholic Church’s influence in Irish politics has been in decline for years, and this referendum shows that a new secular, but compassionate Ireland is here to stay. At 18:30 it was announced that Ireland has voted to repeal the eighth amendment of its constitution, with an astounding 64.51% voting Yes.

As an Irish woman, being part of this change is something I am beyond proud of. It’s a moment I won’t ever forget. I was lucky enough to be able to make the journey home and join the thousands of Irish people who were #HomeToVote.

The trip home was emotional and scary. It was filled with an uncertainty whether the beautiful small country I call home, would do the right thing, and vote for a change that affects so many women on a daily basis. Hearing the stories and reading the news throughout the campaign I was sure that Yes would be the outcome, but as the days became closer uneasiness set in.  

Coming from a small town it’s easy to come into contact with closed minded people – you know they are there, even if you don’t agree with their opinion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, the same way all Irish women should have a choice. The yes vote seemed like a no-brainer,  but apparently not. Seeing so many YES signs around the town and people holding signs saying “Beep for yes!” I was pleasantly surprised by the people behind the pro-choice movement and the chance for change.

Being back in Ireland a couple of days before the vote allowed me to speak with amazing Irish men and women of all ages, who restored my faith in the nation. We are a compassionate country, working to make good changes for our citizens. Throughout this campaign, the people of Ireland came together for yes, a yes for the women of our country.

The movement to repeal the 8th has shown me the power of community and the compassion the people of Ireland have for women. Being an Irish women in 2018 is a feeling like no other, but the fight doesn’t stop here. Northern Ireland is still campaigning to bring the same choice to its women. Friday’s referendum has no impact upon the law in Northern Ireland and we need to rally together to make the same choice available there –  and to women all over the world.