Tánaiste Simon Coveney along with Fianna Fáil TD Billy Kelleher, Sinn Féin TD Jonathan O’Brien, Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Sinn Féin Councillor Mick Nugent, Fine Gael Councillor Susan McCarthy, and Senators Jerry Buttimer and Colette Kelleher attended the gathering in the city.
Speaking after the event, chair of Cork Together for Yes Kathy D’Arcy said: “It is so powerful to see members of so many political parties here today.
“Our public representatives are making a commitment to work together to help the people of Cork to vote yes for a safer, kinder Ireland on May 25.
“Nobody wants to have an abortion, but sometimes a woman needs to. We need to show compassion and not judgement to these women. We need to vote yes.”
Sinn Féin TD Jonathan O’Brien told the assembled group of his experiences during the Joint Oireachtas Committee, explaining that taking the time to examine all the information available had allowed him to come to the realisation that people can disagree with abortion while still being able to speak up for women’s rights to access the healthcare they need.
“Because of my background and my upbringing, I had certain views going into the Committee, in many ways I was ignorant,” he said.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney spoke about the importance of the referendum and the need for a change in legislation. “I think this referendum is a hugely important decision, not just for Irish women but for Irish society generally.
“For me, it’s about recognising the realities of Ireland today – what needs to change. It’s simply not okay anymore to force thousands of women to leave Ireland every year or to ignore the fact that they are self-medicating at home without appropriate care.
“We know that we can’t respond appropriately to these challenges without changing the Constitution.
“So I would ask people to ask themselves whether it’s okay to allow the status quo to continue for another decade, knowing that thousands of women will continue to be forced to leave this country to protect their health in very stressful and vulnerable situations,” he added.