Meanwhile, In Geneva


A number of Irish civil society organisations are making presentations to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Geneva today and tomorrow, as Government representatives will be questioned separately by the committee to account for its record on economic, social and cultural rights.

The groups include Threshold, Irish Family Planning Association, Atheist Ireland, Justice for Magdalenes Research, FLAC, Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre, Abortion Rights Campaign, Tallaght Trialogue, Community Law and Mediation and Dr Liam Thornton of UCD Human Rights Network.

Meanwhile, in yesterday’s Sunday Times, Justine McCarthy wrote…

“It was Eamon Gilmore, as Tánaiste, who insisted that this government would hold a same-sex marriage referendum. After the result was declared, he credited the women’s movement with having modernised Ireland. We women have, however, failed to modernise Ireland for ourselves.”

On the Monday after 62% of voters said no to marriage inequality, about a dozen females slipped quietly out of this jurisdiction to have their pregnancies terminated. The same personal tragedies unfolded again the next day, and the day after, and the day after that.

“There are lessons to learn from the marriage equality referendum. One is the power of true-story telling. Seeing the faces and hearing about the experiences of gay people made it difficult for wavering voters to deny others the right to be treated fairly.”

“The abortion debate is not over. The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act fails to protect women’s human rights at the same level that men’s rights are protected. The inequity has to be addressed. This week, Amnesty International will publish a report on Ireland’s abortion law. It is expected to be damning. It couldn’t be anything else.”

“Analysis of voting patterns in the marriage equality referendum showed that more women than men voted in favour of it. Some analysts have ascribed this to women, as mothers of gay people, voting for their children’s happiness. There is another reason too. Women, as victims of discrimination themselves, know how injurious is inequality.”

If Ireland can stop groaning urbanely at the ennui evoked by the abortion issue and recognise it as something deeply personal for many citizens, maybe the Labour party will muster the courage to make one final, heroic gesture to modernisation before bowing out of government. They may be pleasantly surprised, once again, to find what an appetite there is for fairness. They should take heart from opinion polls which consistently find a majority support for the legalising of abortion in the sort of circumstances the party is proposing.”

“And maybe, if we are given a referendum proposing to repeal the eighth amendment, the women of Ireland can bring a little more modernity – this time for their own benefit.”

UN to hold periodic review of Irish rights record (RTE)

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8 thoughts on “Meanwhile, In Geneva

  1. eamonn clancy

    There is a right to access education, health, sport. Access to abortion? I think we need a different word.

  2. Paolo

    It’s funny that she moans about not having a debate on the subject and then fails entirely to state the parameters. Is she seeking abortion on demand up to 39 weeks gestation? As we have seen from the recent marriage equality referendum, there is a sizeable middle ground that needs persuading. This middle ground is concerned with statements like the one in my second sentence and they need clarification on the parameters of the debate before they will actively engage in one. Justine McCarthy should put forward some suggestions for what the legislation should be before she bemoans the lack of movement on the issue. I think a majority of people will be pro-choice once a sensible and medically sound proposal is put forward.

    1. ahjayzis

      She’s advocating a removal of the 8th Amendment – the blanket ban on abortion.

      Legislation can be discussed *when it is constitutional to make legislation* – opposition to the 8th is justified in and of itself.

    2. Cian

      Why should there be a time-limit on abortion?

      Do you really think that if abortion was freely available in Ireland that women would wait until 38-39 weeks before availing of it? Really?

      1. rotide

        No the vast majority wouldn’t

        That doesn’t mean that it should be legal to abort a 8 1/2 month healthy pregnancy.

  3. Lorcan Nagle

    The Abortion Rights Campaign are holding their monthly open meeting next Monday, the 15th of June. Due to demand, the venue has moved from Outhouse to the Teacher’s Club, and it kicks off around 7. If anyone’s interested in progressing a woman’s right to choose, please come anong and see what you can do to help.

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