Together For Yes former co-directors named in TIME 100 list
THE former co-directors of the Together For Yes campaign group have been named among the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine.
Grainne Griffin, Orla O'Connor and Ailbhe Smyth said they are honoured to feature in the prestigious TIME 100 list for their work campaigning for a yes vote in the run up to last year's abortion refendum.
The Time 100 list is now in it's 16th year and recognises influential people such as politicians, celebrities, entrepreneurs, athletes and activists.
Also included in the list this year are US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, footballer Mohamed Salah and popstar Taylor Swift.
Ms Smyth, Convenor of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment, said she helps their inclusion in the list raises awareness about the work of reproductive rights campaigners.
She said: "We are honoured to receive this accolade from TIME Magazine. It is evidence of the significant international ‘ripple’ impact of the Together for Yes campaign.
"The referendum result here in Ireland was a real boost for the morale of pro-choice campaigners throughout the word; and we hope it can be a beacon of light wherever and whenever abortion rights are denied, restricted or under severe threat.
"As a small country on the edge of a rich, powerful continent, our voice is not loud. But last year’s referendum showed just how far it can reach. In repealing the Eighth Amendment, Ireland bucked a trend.
"In countries like the USA, Poland, and even Germany, we are seeing the backlash against women’s reproductive rights intensifying. My hope is that our global recognition by TIME helps inspire those fighting for reproductive rights worldwide."
Ms O'Connor, who is Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, said that the landslide 66.4pc yes vote last May was a historic moment for Ireland.
"The Eighth Amendment was a cruel and restrictive law and, through the honesty and the lived experience of women and families who suffered, the Irish public listened.
"This was a moment in time when, led by women, our nation collectively stood up, and rejected a cruel past, where thousands of women were subjected – unnecessarily – to ill-health, shame, distress and judgement," Ms O'Connor said.
She stressed that Together For Yes are now campaigning for change in abortion laws in Northern Ireland.
She explained: "Women’s rights are always hard fought, and hard won, yet the success of the Together for Yes campaign can act as a light for those still fighting for their rights.
"The Yes vote in Ireland had an immediate knock-on effect for women in Northern Ireland, who are currently denied the rights women have in Britain and now here in the South.
"Activists and campaigners in the North say they are seeing a groundswell of support, especially from young people, since the Repeal referendum.
"The NWCI, ARC and all of the many organisations that were involved in Together for Yes will continue to do whatever we can to support them in their struggle."
Ms Griffin, a founding member of the Abortion Rights Campaign, said that she is over the moon that the work of Irish pro-choice campaigners has been recognised internationally.
She said: "We would like to thank the thousands of volunteer campaigners and organisations across Ireland, whose dedication, hard work and commitment over months and, in some cases, years ensured the success of Together for Yes.
"This was a movement that really demonstrated the extent to which organised individuals can shape and influence the world we live in.
"Our inclusion on the ‘TIME 100’ list is a recognition of the role played by every single individual who contributed to Together for Yes."
- The full list and related tributes appear in the April 29 2019 issue of TIME, which will be available to buy on Friday, it also online now at time.com/time100