- repeal the 8th amendment to the constitution (May 2018)
- directly elected mayors (Oct 2018)
- abolish blasphemy (Oct 2018)
- role of women in the home (Oct 2018)
- voting for the diaspora (2019)
- easier divorce (2019)
- votes for 16s (2019)
Because the detail is important, let's capture the actual 8th Amendment. Article 40.3.3 now states:
The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.
If the new referendum is as simple as "Do you wish to excise article 40.3.3. from the Constitution?", we're still a long way from abortion on demand in Tullamore.
April it was March For Science with Dau.I and maybe 800 others people. As a quid pro quo for her support, in June I went out with her, Dau.II and their mother on a Repeal the Eighth rally in Cork. There were about 1,000 people on that go round the town.
The march was HUGE. Best signs. Some estimates are putting out 40,000 people on the side of change. There was also a fringe of counter-demonstrators from the pro-life side. And weirdly, as we shambled down Dublin's principal thoroughfare we saw another march - of Muslims apparently anti-ISIS - going up the other side of the street in the opposite direction. Poor them, they will garner zero publicity from their event. This issue is much edgier than free-the-gays or whether Trump is anti-science or even Brexit across the water. Although it is deeply divisive, a case could be made that nobody will die whether the UK goes or stays in the EU. In the London solidarity for Repeal march this weekend, they tried to chalk 200,000 white crosses on the pavement outside the Irish Embassy.
<math aside> that's a helluva lot of crosses written while bent double. I've just taken 30 seconds to write 50 1cm x 1cm crosses on a sheet of paper. Chalk will take at least as long. That's 33 person hours on your knees. If each cross takes up 10cm^2 of pavement that's a stretch 2m wide and 100m long.</math aside>
If you're from the pro-life side of the debate, 200,000 'babies' is surely worth fighting for. If you're from the other side, that's 200,000 young women who have been able to pay for a solution to a life-changing situation. Whichever side you're on it is invidious to shunt the problem onto the country next door, and politically charged because we're meant to be a republic independent from that same country.
Around about 3pm we trailed into Merrion Square although still at least 100 closely packed metres from the stage and the speakers. One wizard wheeze from the speeches was the idea to take a leaf out of the post Vatican II Liturgy of the Eucharist "Let us offer each other a sign of peace" when we were invited to shake hands with the strangers about us as a sign of solidarity. Another high point was to wheel out Bernadette McAliskey who, in my day, as Bernadette Devlin aged 21, the youngest woman elected to the UK parliament in 1969. That record was handed to Mhairi Black [aged 20] in 2015. McAliskey has been through the wars,
- she witnessed Bloody Sunday in 1972,
- the next day in the House of Commons, she slapped the Home Secretary as an act of proletarian protest when he claimed the massacre was an act of self-defense "I'm just sorry I didn't get him by the throat".
- in 1981 the McAliskey parents shot in front of their two children by loyalist paramilitaries while a British army unit looked on. A case could be, and has been, made that McAliskey was 'taken out' with the collusion of the British government in an Israeli style realpolitik of assassination.
- in 2003 she was, still 5 feet nothing in her socks, denied entry to the US because she poses a serious threat to the security of the United States