Home to Vote on Eighth: ‘This is a historic moment for Ireland’

‘I thought the least I could do is come home and lend my support’

“Let’s go together.” Sisters Lia and Tess McCann returned to Ireland to cast their votes on the Eighth Amendment at St Mary’s National School, Grange Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

“Let’s go together.” Sisters Lia and Tess McCann returned to Ireland to cast their votes on the Eighth Amendment at St Mary’s National School, Grange Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Charlie Gallagher (27) was prepared to jeopardise a US visa application to return to Ireland from London and vote in the referendum.

Ms Gallagher, originally from Rathmines, has been working in a sales position in London for the last 16 months but is planning to move to New York with the same company in the coming months.

“My company are sponsoring me, I’m actually in the middle of a US visa application and they recommend you don’t travel, but I thought it [the referendum] was too important so I decided to come home.

“I know I’m going to come back to Dublin eventually, I’m working away now and I’m going to New York but I will come back and hopefully have kids here and things like that so it’s massively important that this is repealed.

‘At tipping point’

“This is a historic moment for Ireland, I think we’re at a tipping point where we really do have to move into the future and away from traditional church and religious kind of views and be a bit more progressive.”

A campaign under the hashtag #HomeToVote had been pushing for Irish people abroad to get back in time to vote in the referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

Tess McCann (26), a PhD candidate studying in Edinburgh, travelled home on Thursday to vote in the referendum with her sister Lia (24), a recently qualified doctor.

The sisters cycled to their local polling station at St Mary’s Boys National School in Rathfarnham, a five-minute trip from their family home. “It was something the two of us wanted to share,” said Tess McCann.

“We haven’t had many voting opportunities since we’ve both been 18. I told Lia that I was going to come back and she said, ‘Let’s go together’.

‘Equal society’

“It’s something both of us feel really strong about and obviously affects both of us. I’m a believer in equality and I think this is something that is a barrier to that. We can’t think that we can be an equal society with this [Eighth Amendment] in place.”

Michael Barton (24), an international relations student at Cambridge University, was also among those who travelled home to vote Yes.

“I’ve a lot of friends who’ve been doing pretty incredible work campaigning for the last several months and even years, I thought the least I could do is come home and lend my support.”

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