McCafferty launches women's Yes vote campaign on treaty


JOURNALIST AND author Nell McCafferty wants to live “under the protection of the EU” and not “in a country ruled exclusively by this or any other Irish government”, she said as she launched the Women For Europe campaign, supporting a Yes vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum.

Describing herself as “an EU addict”, Ms McCafferty compared the actions of the current administration with those of the 1976 government when Ireland “wanted to derogate from European law, giving women the right to equal pay. They didn’t want to lift the marriage bar [when women in the Civil Service were forced to give up work on marriage]”.

She told a gathering of over 200 women and several men at the Mansion House in Dublin that “32 years later, when cutbacks are sought, the first thing the Government does is halve the funding of the Equality Authority, the body protecting the rights of women workers. The first solution they reach for is to send women back into the home.” She added that “now they are threatening the National Women’s Council”. They wanted women “barefoot, pregnant and back at the kitchen sink”. But to rousing cheers, she told her audience “throw that kitchen sink back at them and vote Yes”.

Women for Europe chairwoman Olive Braiden said the campaign aimed to ensure “the voice of women is heard and not forgotten in this debate, that our concerns and issues are listened to”.

The campaign’s supporters include writers Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell, public policy expert Miriam Hederman O’Brien, Sylvia Meehan, the first chairwoman of the Employment Equality Authority and current and former Dublin lord mayors, Emer Costello and Eibhlín Byrne.

Ms Braiden said “the Lisbon Treaty is the next step for Europe and it is the right step”.

A Yes vote “is vital and and important step forward for the EU” and for Ireland.

“Fears and worries were allowed to fester during the last debate, but this time women were taking responsibility. It was vital for Europe and for Ireland to vote Yes”.

Women for Europe is a networking campaign founded by Niamh Gallagher of the Children’s Rights Alliance and Michelle O’Donnell Keating, an IT specialist who said “we are creating a platform for people with opinions to talk about the treaty and explain it”.

The campaign will provide information and speakers to a network of 70 women’s groups. It is also organising a visit by the secretary general of the European Commission, Catherine Day, in the run up to the vote on October 2nd.

10: voting yes

At the launch, 10 women each gave a reason why they were voting yes. The reasons include protection for women and children against trafficking; consumer protection; preservation of equality provisions and ensuring greater transparency in the EU.

They are also contained in an information booklet and are available online at