The Basque woman five seats down from me was in awe. The stadium was packed. Over 50,000 souls had taken over the place and turned it red. It was only a ‘friendly’, but the supporters of the ‘home’ team cheered every pass and move with a gusto which was totally out of kilter with the importance of the occasion.
“Why does everyone in Ireland support Liverpool?” she asked me at half-time. “Do you not support your own teams?”
In the city of Shamrock Rovers, Bohemians, and St Patrick’s Athletic, she was shocked to see so many Dubliners come out to support a team from the old colonial power.
Taking the trip to Liverpool today are a couple dealing with grief, and the extra trauma of having to fly to the UK for treatment, following the diagnosis of a fatal foetal abnormality.
The couple, who also have a disabled child, are documenting their trip on Twitter and Snapchat.
Writes the couple’s husband:
This Thursday, the 10th of November, we will travel to the UK from Ireland to have a termination. This is not by choice. Three months ago, after many attempts, we were overjoyed at the discovery we were successful.
Our first child was born with a genetic condition that meant we spent many months in hospital and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Although there is a risk any future children may carry the same condition we decided it was a risk worth taking.
At our first pre-natal appointment, we were offered a genetic screening test. Although it does not screen for the condition that affects our first child, it will for others that may inhibit the baby’s chance of survival. Of course we agreed to a simple blood test, after all the heartbeat now visible was strong and all markers pointed to a healthy pregnancy. Then we got the call that nothing can prepare you for.
A fatal foetal abnormality was discovered. We had never heard of Edwards’ syndrome before but we were told that even if carried to full term the period of life would be counted in the minutes and hours after birth. It is a crushing sentence for any person to hear, let alone for my wife who has had to give up her career to become a full-time carer for our little boy.
We went back for more tests and got confirmation. We should be telling our friends and relatives about our joyous news at just over 12 weeks; instead we are now past the point of being able to go to a hospital in the UK so we had to make arrangements to visit a clinic.
Traumatic in its own right, we also have to get someone to mind our child who requires constant monitoring throughout the day or his condition can cause him to slip into a coma and his brain can basically shut down. A lot of responsibility for us, even more putting it on someone else’s shoulders.
(Despite) what should be a simple procedure that could be carried out 20 minutes from home, in a risk-free environment, we are being forced to travel to the UK, leaving our child behind and the risks that involves to do the most humane thing possible to a baby that will never survive. That’s why we are going to document our experience from start to finish on Thursday.
We hope that this may enlighten those who do not want to listen or even allow the people of this country to decide for themselves. Our Government has continually kicked the can down the road and we, the people, must decide if we can allow this to happen. We hope that by documenting our experience it may help those that may have been through something similar or may be unfortunate enough to do so in the future.
Please share and check back on Thursday morning for updates throughout the day.
Dáil members voting on Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace’s bill, to allow for terminations in Ireland in the case of a fatal foetal abnormality, and how TDs voted
Henry McDonald, in The Guardian, reports:
Dr Lara Kelly is one of the first members of the Irish medical profession to speak publicly about travelling to the UK for an abortion. The 35-year-old GP said her decision to speak out was motivated by the blocking of a bill in the Irish parliament earlier this month that would have allowed for abortions in Irish hospitals in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities.
…At Liverpool airport, Kelly and her husband decided to carry the remains on to the plane, rather than have them placed in the hold, in case the luggage went missing. Passing through security brought on further trauma, she said.
“We were queuing at security for ages and I wasn’t feeling physically great after the procedure the day before,” she said. “When we got to the top we said to the security guy that we had to declare foetal remains. The guy said, ‘What?’ He didn’t seem to understand and so we said it out loud again. He didn’t know what foetal remains meant so Mark said, ‘It’s a baby in the box’, and the man said out loud, ‘A baby in the box?’ Half the queue heard that, probably some of those who were getting on our flight to Dublin heard that.”
…On her way back to Dublin, Kelly approached a member of staff at Liverpool airport to ask for advice about travelling with foetal remains. “The girl was Irish as it happened and she said something astonishing to me. ‘It’s fine,’ she said. ‘You need to go over to the gentleman at customs and declare the remains at security. It’s fine, I did it a few weeks ago.’ That’s what she said to me. It was said with such normality because she had done it herself.”
Irish fans of Liverpool Football Club yesterday afternoon at the Papal Cross in Phoenix Park, Dublin set off on a walk to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster when 96 Liverpool fans were killed.
The walk, organised by reds supporters’ group YNWA, began at 3.07pm [the kick off time at Hillsborough] and lasted 96 minutes.
Liverpool have issued members of staff with a list of “unacceptable” words and phrases in their efforts to combat all forms of discrimination at Anfield.
…Liverpool’s list of what is “usually offensive and the club considers unacceptable” has been given to all full-time and casual members of staff who have contact with the public on matchdays or on a daily basis.