Pro Choice

March for Choice I attended the fourth annual march organised by the Abortion Rights Campaign today calling for free, safe and legal abortion in Ireland and for the repeal of the 8th amendment. This is as fundamental issue for me as marriage equality was. As a country we are denying reproductive rights to women and it needs to change.

I, and approx 10-12k people there today, believe a woman should be the only person making decisions about whether she wants to continue a pregnancy for whatever reason. Those who spoke today were hugely heartfelt, eloquent and brave. Furthermore, a RED C poll commissioned by Amnesty International this year found that 81% of those surveyed are in favour of significantly widening the grounds for legal abortion access in Ireland. That will require repealing the 8th amendment. It can’t come soon enough.

Crossrail breaks through

Crossrail, a new underground line across London, is Europe’s biggest infrastructure project at the moment and they’ve just connected up both ends. The tunnel boring machines have been running 24 hours a day for 3 years and Transport for London sent down a bunch of drones and timelapse cameras to give a better feel for what’s been happening. Quite brilliantly, they’re also using the excavated earth to build a new nature reserve at Wallasea Island in Essex. The completed line will open to passengers in 2018.

On Marriage Equality

First off, I’m going to vote ‘Yes’ in the marriage equality referendum. Fundamentally because I believe that no group of citizens should enjoy privileges that are unavailable to another. I see and hear from the younger generations (my cousins in particular) who are open and accepting of those who are different, whether that difference be sexuality, race or class. I applaud them for it but I worry about the significant amount who are not registered to vote. A RedC/NYCI poll last autumn found that up to 30% of 18-25 year olds were not on the electoral register. Universities and various campaigns have been doing sterling work to ensure more are registered since but the deadline is NEXT TUESDAY 5th May.

If you believe in equality and are not registered to vote, find the time next Tuesday and get sorted. Opinion polls may suggest that ‘Yes’ will will comfortably but this will be closer than expected, and to be honest, this is a big opportunity for young people in Ireland to stand up and redefine the national identity. On May 22nd, get to the polling station in the morning or postpone that Friday pint for an hour. I read two excellent pieces this week and I’d encourage you to read them too:

Please Vote YES to Marriage Equality in Ireland – An excellent post by Donncha Ó Caoimh.

Noel Whelan: What’s the difference between civil partnership and marriage? – One of the best pieces I’ve read on the entire topic.

Please see if you want to help further in any way. I’m hoping that May 23rd will be a brighter day in Ireland for all.