A vocal crowd of several hundred marched in Cork city centre yesterday to call for repeal of the Eighth Amendment.
Yesterday the cabinet signed off on the wording of the upcoming referendum and the news was reflected in the positive mood of the crowd gathered in the Grand Parade.
There were speeches and chants before the demonstrators set off along the South Mall.
Speaking were Evie Evans, a disability advocate active with Disabled People for Choice, Tracey Ryan, a member of Cork’s Parents For Choice organisation, Dr Mary Favier on behalf of Doctors For Choice and Anna Heverin for USI Students For Choice.
The leading marchers had passed the Bank of Ireland before the final stragglers left the Grand Parade, with a mixture of young and old, men and women in attendance.
Several women pushed buggies and there were a number of children in the crowd.
There were Labour, Solidarity, the Green Party, Sinn Féin and Social Democrat flags flown, as well as a contingent from SIPTU and LGBT activists. A group of students from the Crawford College of Art & Design announced themselves as Witches 4 Repeal. More marchers were not affiliated with any group but joined in with handmade signs.
“We have groups from all over Cork today,” Luke Field of the Cork Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment said.
“There’s organisations in North County Cork, West Cork, Macroom and Cobh as well as the Cork city group. We are all working together for repeal because we want people in Cork to be able to access healthcare in Cork. We shouldn’t be forcing people to pack their bags and go to England because a minority of people want to pretend that unintended pregnancies, tragic circumstances and abortions don’t happen," he added.
At the same time, pro-life demonstrators in Dublin held a public event outside the Dáil, where a spokesperson described abortion as ‘anti-woman and anti-child’.
“Today is International Women’s Day, and it’s also the day that Simon Harris intends to bring the abortion proposal before the Dáil,” said Mairéad Hughes, an organiser of the event.
“He needs to realise that he is not helping women by pushing abortion.”
The Referendum Commission, to be chaired by Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, is set to be established today. However, the Dáil and Seanad have to approve the Bill before the referendum date can be set and time is tight for the Government's preferred date of May 25.
Mr Field said he and his group were keen to get out on doorsteps after a drawn-out campaign to get the referendum called.
“There is a lot of hard work ahead but people just want to get started,” he said. “Now that the wording has been approved, I would like to think we could get in motion very soon.”