‘When I heard the result I thought, Wow, I’m partially responsible for this’

People who took part in the Citizens’ Assembly describe how they feel after the repeal of the Eighth Amendment

A Q&A session at the second meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly  considering the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, in January 2017. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

A Q&A session at the second meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly considering the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, in January 2017. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Louise Caldwell (40), a mother of three children from Tara, Co Meath: “I have been saying from the get-go that the Citizens’ Assembly was representative of the people that I meet, that I know and that I talk to: unless there was some cohort of people who hide and do not talk to anyone. The public had the time to consider the arguments that we considered, and they reached the same conclusions.”

John Long (58), a father of two from Cork city: “We, the citizens, are quietly satisfied about the outcome. We are happy that what we proposed was taken on board by the public. What we came up with was exactly what the people decided upon. It was totally in keeping with what the public wanted. The No side, not the Citizens’ Assembly, were out of step with the people.”

David Keogh (49), a lorry driver from Kildare town: “We were totally representative of the population at large. If there had been 999 citizens instead of 99 the outcome would have been the same but it would have taken a bit longer. The only people who criticised us were the No side, and guess what happened to them. When I heard the result I thought, Wow, I’m partially responsible for this.”

Fionnuala Geraghty (34), a mother of two from Bray, Co Wicklow: “I felt relieved the rest of the country listened to the same amount of facts that we heard. I don’t think anybody went into this celebrating abortion being anything other than a tragic necessity at times. We were not guided by emotion. We were guided by facts and by experts. It seems that somehow that got into the national consciousness. I believe that as an exercise in deliberative democracy, the Citizens’ Assembly proved its worth.”