The Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment held a rally in Dublin city centre today in demonstration of their wish for an “immediate referendum to repeal the eighth amendment”.
Meeting outside Central Bank on Dame Street, similar rallies were held in Galway, Cork and Kerry. With over 1000 people registered as “going” on Facebook, and a further 2200 subscribed as “interested”, members of the rally arrived in droves to show their support of the Citizens’ Assembly’s recommendation to address Ireland’s abortion laws.
Originally scheduled for 2pm, the Coalition changed the time of the rally in order to allow citizens to attend both the Repeal rally and the National Homeless Demonstration, which saw marchers travel from Custom House Quay to Dáil Eireann. The Coalition stated on their Facebook page about the decision:
“The Eighth Amendment disproportionately affects poor people so we hope all our supporters will support both!”
The Coalition to Repeal the Eighth is comprised of over 80 organisations, ranging from health organisations to trade unions. The group claimed a monthly average Facebook reach of 155,000 people throughout 2016. Following Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) mandate on repeal, Students’ Union President Kieran McNulty also organised students to meet outside Front Arch prior to the rally in support.
With the announcement of Pope Francis’s intention to visit Ireland in 2018 to speak against abortion, the Coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment have organised marches throughout 2017. On March 8, thousands filled the streets as part of Strike 4 Repeal and International Women’s day.
Earlier in the week, newly-appointed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed that a referendum would be held in 2018 in regards to the 8th Amendment. Following criticism from the United Nations, and a recommendation from Minister for Children Katherine Zappone, Varadkar has tasked Minister for Health Simon Harris with bringing forward legislation for a referendum surrounding the 8th Amendment.