Saoirse Ronan talks politics in the August issue of US Vogue
Ronan was born in the 1990s and grew up in Ireland at a time of rapid social change. The dominance of the Catholic Church over state institutions was beginning to fall away, homosexuality was decriminalized, divorce became legal, and contraception was made widely available for the first time.
In 2015, when Ronan was 21, the Irish electorate affirmed the right to same-sex marriage with a 62 percent majority. She remembers that day:
“driving through north Dublin, and everyone had the flags out,” she says. “They were having street parties. It felt as though we had moved into a new stage. It was like we had woken up.”
I ask if Ronan ever worried about facing a backlash for speaking her mind on abortion, long considered a particularly divisive issue in Ireland.
“I just felt like that wasn’t important,” she says. “I know people who had to travel abroad in order to get an abortion, and that’s when I knew I would speak out.”
But Ronan doesn’t engage only with policy concerns that touch her life directly. She also voiced her support in 2016 for the illegal takeover of an empty building in Dublin’s city centere to accommodate the homeless; and she takes the time to recommend me Jeff Chang’s We Gon’ Be Alright, a book of essays on racial resegregation in the U.S._
“I wouldn’t say I grew up politically minded,” she tells me, “but the older I get, the more in touch I am with what activists are doing—and the more I want to help them.”