Thousands take to Dublin's streets demanding abortion rights in Ireland
Several thousand pro-choice campaigners lined the streets of Dublin in support of the fourth annual March for Choice.
The rally - organised by the Abortion Rights Alliance and supported by Amnesty International Ireland – started at the Garden of Remembrance and finished up at Merrion Square.
Campaigners called for free, legal and safe abortion in Ireland and for an immediate referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment.
Orla O’Connor, director of the National Women’s Council in Ireland, said abortion is a reality that the Government need to accept.
“It’s a complete hypocrisy that women’s rights are still being ignored. Instead of facing the truth the Government are exporting the problem,” she said.
Ms O’Connor also claimed that Ireland’s current position on abortion is having a “chilling and confusing” affect on our medical professionals.
Pro-choice supporters say they will only vote for politicians who support abortion rights in the next General Election.
"We are asking people to only vote the parties that support abortion in their manifesto and it will be the first question we ask when they come knocking on doors," said Ms O'Connor.
Colm O'Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International said Irish laws on abortion are "draconian" and "shameful".
"We have the most restrictive laws in the world and they don't prevent abortion. A minimum of 177,000 Irish women and girls have gone to the UK for abortions since 1971. It's beyond time to make this change," he said.
Meanwhile, the Pro Life Campaign say attacks on 8th Amendment ignore the lives saved and the hurt and heartbreak of abortion for many women.
A spokesperson for the Pro Life Campaign has said organisers of today’s March for Choice in Dublin are in “absolute denial regarding the hurt and heartbreak caused by abortion for many women.” Among those taking part in today’s demonstration are a group of Socialist MEPs from various EU countries.