A number of Trinity students have gathered outside the gates of the Dáil this evening. Politicians are currently debating a repeal of the eighth amendment, with the upcoming referendum occurring later in 2018.
While the debate is occuring within the Dáil, video footage of proceedings inside the Dáil chamber is being projected onto the walls outside for those demonstrating and those observing to see.
This follows several stunts on campus earlier this morning. Before 9am, a banner was hung from Regent House for several minutes before being taken down. This was continued later in the afternoon, with a banner drop within the Ussher library, as well as a banner in the footbridge to Goldsmith Hall. The actions were organised by TCD Strike 4 Repeal, who also called on students to attend the demonstration outside the Dáil.
The demonstration comes ahead of the referendum scheduled for later this year. Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) has actively campaigned for a referendum to repeal the eighth amendment since adopting a pro-repeal position in 2014.
TCDSU President Kevin Keane said: “It’s quite moving and emotional to be here at what is hopefully the culmination of a year’s work of strike activists and well over thirty years work of abortion rights activists across Ireland.”
Communications & Marketing Officer for TCDSU Una Harty said the date of the referendum was important for students. “We want to make sure that the referendum is a May referendum so it suits students.”
Prior to the debate, Union of Students’ in Ireland (USI) Vice President Siona Cahill said: “Our work on this issue has been ongoing for years – we have been in direct contact with TDs and Senators, answering concerns and questions that they have had, raising with them that this is a prominent issue for students across the country, and one that we simply won’t be silent about. If they didn’t think it was on their doorsteps before this, TDs and Senators have learned that for thousands of newly registered voters, it most certainly is now.”
Additional reporting by Seana Davis and Rory O’Neill.