All-Ireland Rally for Life unites 100,000 supporters
12 March 2018
The demonstration stretched for well over a kilometre through the streets of Dublin.
The Irish capital drew in a crowd of “up to 100,000” supporters for the All-Ireland Rally for Life on Saturday, according to Ireland's Sunday Independent.
The report goes on to observe that placard-waving marchers were 10 to 12 abreast at the front of the march as they arrived at Merrion Square, while marchers near the rear of the crowd were still leaving O'Connell Street. The demonstration stretched for well over a kilometre through the city.
Men, women and children marched together to communicate their desire for Ireland to retain the 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution (Article 40.3.3,) in the run up to the referendum on the issue. The amendment “acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”
Commenting on the turnout, Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute said, “This is the real Citizens Assembly, this is the real voice of the Irish people, and we are here to tell Mr Varadkar that he will lose referendum he is so eagerly pushing, because we, the people, have arisen to Save the 8th, and we, the people, demand a better answer than abortion for our mothers and babies,” she said to prolonged applause.
The Irish Times quotes former Taoiseach John Bruton praising Ireland for protecting the unborn child: “It’s true that we are probably one of the few countries in the world that has, in our constitution, an express recognition of the right to life of the unborn child, but that’s something we should be proud of,” he said.
Don’t Screen Us Out
The crowd heard from doctors, disability rights campaigners and pro-life activists, listed on the Rally for Life website.
Karen Gaffney, a leading international advocate for people with Down Syndrome, urged the crowd to Save the 8th to protect the right to life of “people like me”, and warned that in other countries, aggressive screening programs meant that up to 100% of people with Down Syndrome were being aborted. “We want to belong, don’t screen us out,” she said.
Vicky Wall from Every Life Counts “moved many to tears” as she spoke movingly about her daughter Líadán who was diagnosed with a life-limiting condition, Trisomy 18. “Liádán’s life was protected by the 8th amendment, she was given the respect as our daughter. Even though she had a life-limiting condition, she was loved and valued as much as her brother and sister. All she know was love.”
Sullen and silent
Liam Gibson, the development officer for SPUC in Northern Ireland, was present at the March. He observed that “the most remarkable thing was the counter demonstration. In numbers they were fewer then ever before, sullen and completely silent. They looked like people who were already defeated.”
Indeed, only a day after the Rally for Life, The Independent reports that pro-abortion campaigners are calling on 40,000 Irish people living abroad to return to home to vote in this summer’s referendum, in a bid to swing the vote against preserving the eighth amendment.
Join us in London
This year’s March for Life in London will hear from former abortion worker Noel Patrùn, who is one of the faces of Save the 8th's #MyAbortionStory campaign. Mr Patrùn, though Irish born, worked for a considerable time in abortion provision in a UK hospital. He will address the March for Life in London on the 5th of May 2018.
Image credits: https://www.facebook.com/Allirelandrallyforlife/
News in brief: