USI to speak at Citizens’ Assembly on the 8th Amendment

The union will present a paper along with 16 other advocacy groups on March 5

USI members taking part in the two-week long protest for Repeal the 8th outside government buildings last year, March 29, organised by Amnesty International Ireland

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) will be presenting a paper on March 5 to the Citizens’ Assembly. USI, along with 16 advocacy groups, have been chosen to speak at the Citizens’ Assembly. However, USI are the only group who will be representing students.

USI will be recommending that a referendum be called on a complete repeal of the 8th Amendment, as well as access to free and safe reproductive health care in Ireland. USI are also seeking that students receive support from medical experts without legal repercussions, when making sexual health decisions.

USI will be speaking about topics such as student engagement with the Repeal campaign, the implications of a continued lack of abortion facilities in Ireland as well as the impact of the 8th Amendment on transgender youth.

Speaking to Trinity News, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President, Kieran McNulty said: “it is hugely significant that USI get to speak. Students have been at the forefront of the movement for women’s rights, and students are a group made up of many who have never had the chance to vote on this. It’s right that the youth voice is heard.”

McNulty is not disappointed that the USI is the only group advocating for students saying: “Well, I’ll be there to watch as we’re an advocacy organisation in TCDSU. We’re included in the USI submission and the list of organisations invited to speak is quite small, there are 80 organisations in the Coalition, for example.”

USI’s submission outlines that no Irish college has voted against the Repeal the 8th campaign. In 2014, 73% of Trinity students voted for TCDSU to campaign for abortion rights.

Seana Davis

Seana Davis is a fourth year Geology student and News Editor of Trinity News.