Monday 24 September 2018

The people heard our plea and answered with a roar

This resounding result helps to heal old wounds and gives great hope for all the daughters of Ireland

A woman breaks down in tears as the results in the Irish referendum on the 8th amendment Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
A woman breaks down in tears as the results in the Irish referendum on the 8th amendment Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Ciara Kelly

It took me a moment to understand what the exit poll said. So many of us were afraid to hope it would pass at all. Sixty-eight per cent yes. Could it be true? Tears. We had talked anxiously all day about the result. Would it be like divorce - a cliffhanger with fewer than 9,000 votes in it? What would that mean for the legislation? It'll never be like marriage equality. This was a harder sell, we were told repeatedly.

The Together for Yes campaign was told it did everything wrong. "You're too shrill." Shrill - the word used to describe and undermine angry women since time began. "It's too divisive - no one wants to go there." "You're alienating people - your tone is all wrong." And latterly: "It's too extreme - the Irish people don't want abortion on demand."

But we were told these things by politicians and pundits and absolutists, who luckily were not getting to decide. Putting it to the people was the exactly right thing to do. The people listened.

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss