Tuesday 23 October 2018

The tide flowed to Yes - nothing could have stopped it

Voting to repeal the Eighth puts to rest Ireland's long war over abortion, but those who voted No still asked important questions, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

CHEERS: Repeal the Eighth campaigners celebrate the return of a Yes vote in the courtyard of Dublin Castle. Photo: Gerry Mooney
CHEERS: Repeal the Eighth campaigners celebrate the return of a Yes vote in the courtyard of Dublin Castle. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Eilis O'Hanlon

One of most vivid descriptions of the young emigrants coming back to vote in last Friday's referendum came from Irish author Jane Casey, who said it was a 'response to all the silent, secret journeys that went the other way'.

Some comments on the #HomeToVote hashtag on social media were ludicrously over the top; one would have thought the returnees were the modern equivalent of the international brigades who headed to Spain in the 1930s to fight fascism. Casey's image, though, said something quietly profound, reinforcing the case that it would have been a serious rebuff to those young people had Ireland voted No. They are the future, and, as a generation, they thoroughly deserve this victory.

Leaving moral arguments aside for a moment, a No vote would also have prolonged Ireland's difficult relationship with abortion. Divisions would have continued.

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