LÉIRSIÚ AR SON AN 8ú LEASÚCHÁN A CHUR AR CEAL/ DEMONSTRATION FOR THE REPEAL OF THE 8th AMENDMENT

Plodaithe

Ag Cearnóg Pharneil, Gáirdín Cuimneacháin

Bhí léirsiú ollmhór ar son ceart na mban  roghnaithe ginnmhilleadh agus go baileach ar son Leasúchan Bunreachta a hOcht a chur ar ceal.  Thosaigh an mórshiúil ag Gáirdín Cuimhneacháin, Baile Átha Cliath, agus chríochnaigh ag Cearnóg Mhuirfean, in aice le cúl doras na Dála.

Ba dheacair an líon a thomhais ach bhí sé an-mhór. Ní raibh mórán Gardaí i láthair agus ní raibh aon chíréib ná rud ar bith mar é go dtí gur sroicheadh ceann scríbe (d’fhágas go luath ina dhiaidh sin).

Trasnu droichead

Part of the march is on the north quay while another section crosses Talbot Memorial Bridge and the remaining section has turned left and is marching along the north side.

Ach b’ait an bealach a thógadar: Sr. Uí Chonaill, Cé Éidin, trasna Droichead Cuimhneacháin an Talbóidigh, ar aghaidh ar an dtaobh ó dheas ar Cé na Cathrach, suas Sráid Lombaird agus Rae an Iarthair go Cearnóg Mhuirfeann ag an gcúinne agus thart trí thaobh na Cearnóige — faoi mar go rabhadar ag iarraidh an bac ba lú a chur ar an dtrácht.

Repeal of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution was a central demand of the demonstration.

In 1983, the 8th Amendment inserted a new sub-section after section 3 of Article 40 of the Bunreacht (Constitution) of the State.  As a result Article 40.3.3° reads:

“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.”

Ag teacht isteach ar thaobh dheis Chearnóg Mhuirfeann (tabhair faoi deara an placárd i nGaeilge sa lár taobh láimhe deise)

Ag teacht isteach ar thaobh dheis Chearnóg Mhuirfeann (tabhair faoi deara an placárd i nGaeilge sa lár taobh láimhe deise)

The amendment had been proposed by the Haughey Fianna Fáil Government but actually brought into law by the subsequent Fine Gael/Labour Party Government in 1983.  As it was a Constitutional change, a referendum was required and it was passed by a majority of close to two to one.

Over the years since then a number of changes have taken place in Irish public opinion and the Irish Catholic Church has lost much of its influence.  In addition, a number of scandals relating to women refused abortion have also received prominent media coverage, particularly in recent years, including one fatality.  Opinion polls on abortion in Ireland now show a majority in favour of greater access and a fast-growing minority in favour of unfettered right to abortion.  However, none of the major political parties. i.e. those with elected representatives in double figures, currently proposes to recommend the repealing of the 8th Amendment.

Mná ó Asturias ag tacú leis an léirsiú

Mná ó Asturias ag tacú leis an léirsiú

Statistics showed that 4,149 Irish women had abortions in Britain in 2011 and other statistics show that 7,000 women travelled abroad that year in order to obtain an abortion.

 

a chríoch

ONE LEAVES DETENTION THIS MORNING; THREE DETAINED THIS EVENING

Diarmuid Breatnach

Anti-Water Tax protester leaves Dublin court today at liberty after two months but Gardaí arrest three Pro-Choice campaigners this evening, pepper-spraying at least one of them while held immobile on the ground.

Arrested impeding Irish Water vehicles

Stephen Bennet was brought from Mountjoy Prison this morning to Dublin Criminal Court to face “Public Order” charges relating to “obstructing” Irish Water vehicles in Dún Laoghaire and Dalkey and refusing to comply with Gárda instructions to desist. The Dún Laoghaire court had imposed conditions for releasing Bennet on bail which included a curfew, staying away from Irish Water vehicles and a large financial surety. Declaring the conditions unreasonable and a restriction on his civil rights to protest, Bennet had refused to agree to the conditions and the judge had taken to jail.

Some of the crowd of supporters welcome Bennet as he emerges into the court ground floor lobby. His daughter Saoirse can be seen the left holding Bennet's grandson. Unfortunately, Bennet himself is hidden by a supporter moving forward as photo was taken.

Some of the crowd of supporters welcome Bennet as he emerges into the court ground floor lobby. His daughter Saoirse can be seen to the left holding Bennet’s grandson. Unfortunately, Bennet is hidden as he moved forward as photo was taken.

Up to 30 supporters crowded into the court this morning to hear Bennet’s case being tried. There was also a large number of Special Branch Gardaí (political police in plain clothes) and a smaller number of uniformed police. A Garda Sergeant Gilmore from Dun Laoghaire station gave evidence of having confronted Bennet at York Road in Dún Laoghaire, where the accused had been sitting in the road and at Dalkey, where he had been “marching extremely slowly”. Sgt. Gilmore quoted the Public Order Act to Bennet and ordered him to desist but Bennet had declined to comply. Defence Counsel maintained that there was “a reasonable doubt” as to whether Bennet had been in violation of laws initially which would have rendered his subsequent refusal to comply with Garda instructions not an offence. Since there was no question of accusation of breaches of the peace, assault or criminal damage, the point at issue was whether the Public Order Act was applicable. State Prosecution Counsel argued that blocking or slowing traffic was creating “a nuisance”, to which Defence Counsel replied that causing a nuisance was part of the purpose of a protest, in order to make it effective. Sit-down and marching slowly protests had not been tested in Irish law, said Defence Counsel but quoted a number of cases from the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg where the Court had ruled in favour of applicants’ rights to protest even when the applicants’ states had found them in violation of their laws and penalised them.

Some of the supporters outside the Dublin Court today

Some of the supporters outside the Dublin Court today

The Judge retired to consider the case and when he returned he found Bennet guilty on all charges and sentenced him to a total of around €800 in fines, in default of which a total of 11 days in jail. One one charge, he sentence Bennet to two months’ imprisonment but, since that was time already served awaiting trial, Bennet was freed to cheers from his supporters, including his daughter Saoirse and his grandson, who had been born while he was in jail.

Belfast mother charged with giving her daughter an abortion-inducing pill

At 6pm this evening a protest took place at the Spire in Dublin in solidarity with a Belfast mother who facing criminal charged for having given her daughter a pill which induces abortion in very early pregnancies. The pill is freely available in Britain and legal there but the 1967 Act which legalised abortion in Britain has not been enacted in the Six Counties.

West side, O'Connell Street central pedestrian reservation, Dublin, just near Spire

West side, O’Connell Street central pedestrian reservation, Dublin, just near Spire

4,000+ Women Travel placard
The event had been organised by the Workers’ Solidarity Movement and Real Productive Health organisation in order to express solidarity with the mother and also to link the struggle of women in the 26 Counties with those in the Six, women in both parts of Ireland having to travel to another country, Britain, to avail of abortions and similar protests took place in Belfast and in Galway.

East side O'Connell Street, Dublin, just near Spire

East side O’Connell Street, Dublin, just near the Spire

A number of people spoke and soon afterwards some excitement stirred through the crowd and they began to examine the roof of the GPO where something was going on. Very shortly after that a Garda squad car with siren blaring and blue lights flashing tore along O’Connell Street and turned into Henry Street.

Another group at the protest

Another group at the protest

Sitters and Standers mid-way through the demonstration

Sitters and Standers mid-way through the demonstration

Violent Garda arrest scenes

People broke away from the pro-choice demonstration and gathered in Henry Street as other Garda squad cars, a motorbike, a cycle Garda and a number uniformed and Special Branch Gardaí on foot poured into the street. The scene was  was somewhat confusing for many but what was clear was that the Gardaí had torn the shirt off one one young man, handcuffed him and put him, stripped to the waist, in a squad car. Another young man was also handcuffed and ended up on the ground with a number of police on top, one of whom pepper-sprayed him while in that position. This action provoked shouts from onlookers and uncertain physical intervention. As a third was arrested and bundled into a police car, the word went around that these were pro-choice demonstrators who had got on to the GPO roof (presumably using the scaffolding to the side of the building) and that they had attempted to display a banner up there.

Man arrested after shirt torn off in squad car in Henry Street

Man arrested after shirt torn off in squad car in Henry Street can just be discerned in the back seat of the squad car

Another of those arrested in Henry Street; he ended up on the ground with a number of police on top before being put in the car.

Another of those arrested in Henry Street; he ended up on the ground with a number of police on top before being put in the car.

People gathered around the Gardaí, some of whom threatened to arrest those arguing with them. The Gardaí were then seen to be picking up a banner to put in the back of one of their vehicles when a woman cried sarcastically: “A banner! Oh, thank you for saving us from a banner!” Others joined in shouting: “Bad banner! Bad banner!” amidst other calls from protesters and passers-by generally expressing an opinion that the police action had been unnecessary, repressive and over the top in violence and in numbers. Indeed, the numbers of Gardaí present who had suddenly appeared did suggest to many that they had been kept in readiness to move on the pro-choice demonstration at some point or were aware that some publicity action had been planned. Protesters who attended Store Street Garda station soon afterwards were told that the accused would be charged and released on bail “in a couple of hours”. The wording on the banner apparently had been “ABORTION CHARGES ARE BOLLIX”.

WSM video of scenes at the arrests: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPwZlWYW3kE

WSM Video of the rally just prior to the arrests: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFp_AzsFIa0

Workers’ Solidarity Movement statement on the arrests http://www.wsm.ie/c/wsm-statement-garda-arrest-pro-choice-campaigners-july2015

Some in crowd beginning to argue with Gardaí as others look on amazed

Some in crowd beginning to argue with Gardaí as others look on amazed

Two placards in the crowd earlier, a reminder of what it was about

Two placards in the crowd earlier, a reminder of what it was about

End.