A resounding and emphatic Yes – the people have spoken

 

Sir, – They said we were too shrill, too obstreperous. They spoke of feminism like it was a dirty word. They tried to dismiss and shame women who shared their real lived experiences. They threw the vilest of insults at us, from the altar and on the streets. They spoke about and to our children, saying we were murderers and weren’t they lucky we didn’t murder them. They bullied and intimidated us with their vile posters, confusing and scaring our most vulnerable. But they didn’t prevail. It was just the last sting of a dying wasp.

It feels like we’ve finally shaken the shackles of the church, of our collective dark and shameful past. I’m so proud to stand with Irish women and men to bring compassion home. – Yours, etc,

EMILY SULLIVAN,

Castleknock,

Dublin 15.

Sir, – If the Eighth Amendment had not been introduced in 1983, laws would have been passed to allow terminations in hard cases.

There would have been little call for the liberal abortion law about to be introduced.

The Eighth has had the opposite effect of that intended by its advocates. – Yours, etc

Dr JOHN DOHERTY,

Gaoth Dobhair,

Co Dhún na nGall.

Sir, – The day of theocracy in Ireland is finally over.

Thank God. – Yours, etc,

FIONNUALA DEVLIN,

Berlin.

Sir, – It looks like the notorious phrase spoken at University Hospital Galway – “This is a Catholic country” – no longer applies to Ireland.

Other than the Christian theocratic preamble to the Constitution, the last vestiges of religious authoritarianism seem to be disappearing fast.

It is a far cry from the restrictive world of Archbishop John Charles McQuaid I grew up in. – Yours, etc,

DENIS COTTER,

Middleburg,

Virginia.

A chara, – With the victory that is the removal of the notorious Eighth Amendment, Dr Peter Boylan must feel comforted in the knowledge that he will not, in the words of a critic, “need to go back to school”. Bless him! – Is mise,

ANN McENEANEY,

Celbridge,

Co Kildare.

Sir, – So, the Roman Catholic bishops’ influence on women’s healthcare is now over. Now for the education system? – Yours, etc,

MARIE BREEN,

Drimnagh,

Dublin 12.

Sir, – One thing both sides may be grateful for is that finally they will no longer have to debate the merits of the Eighth Amendment. While most of those on each side were genuine in their beliefs, it was arguably clear that change was inevitable. Not everyone could be expected to live up to the high moral principles underpinning the Eighth. Hopefully we can all come together now – as politicians, work colleagues and family members – and ensure that abortion in Ireland, in the words of our Taoiseach, will be “safe, legal and rare”. – Yours, etc,

FRANK BROWNE,

Templeogue,

Dublin 16.

Sir, – May 26th, 2018: the sound of shackles breaking. – Yours, etc,

EMER HUGHES,

Athlone,

Co Westmeath.

A chara, – One may very well, in principle, legitimately welcome the result of the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. May I suggest, however, that the wild, raucous, unadulterated and unrestrained celebrations by some of the proponents of the successful campaign for Yes are unseemly, to say the least. For any woman and/or her partner to be in a situation where they have to choose to have an abortion – no matter the reason – is, by any standard, a tragedy and certainly not a cause for celebration. This result is emphatically not the same as the marriage equality referendum, which was essentially joyous in nature and which acknowledged and celebrated the love between two people. – Is mise,

E DILLON,

Farranshone,

Limerick.

Sir, – RTÉ is to be commended on its balanced coverage of the referendum results last Saturday. While the playlist for The Weekend On One on RTÉ Radio included Landslide, This Is A Very Special Day, and This Beautiful Day, the film on RTÉ 2 television was Dr No. – Yours, etc,

BRENDAN O’BRIEN,

Waterford.

Sir, – As somebody who has gone through pregnancy and childbirth, I know that I could never force another woman to go through it against her will. I am delighted that the majority of the Irish people agree with me.

Thank you for voting to repeal the Eighth Amendment. – Yours, etc,

MARIANNE McDONALD,

Grange,

Cork.

Sir, – We who have done this thing are no mean people. – Yours, etc,

THEO DORGAN,

Dublin 13.

Sir, – After the Yes landslide on May 26th, most people in this country were poised to celebrate an historic result. But while the eyes of the world’s media were focused on us, we waited and we waited and we waited, for a fax machine (yes, a fax machine!) in Co Donegal to send in their result. A fax machine, for the Millennials among your readers, is a communication device from the 1980s. Come on, Donegal, time to welcome in the 21st century. In more ways than one. – Yours, etc,

DES CAREY,

Clonsilla,

Dublin 15.

Sir, – I ask (politely) that the those who take down posters also remove the plastic tags and not leave them on the poles and lampposts, as so often happens. – Yours, etc,

MARY MULLALLY,

Dublin 8.

Sir, – While I would be happy to see an end to the presence of Bibles at polling stations, it would be a shame if it were done out of fear of priming effects.

Research into priming is currently undergoing a “replication crisis”, with growing evidence that many of the claimed effects of priming, such as influencing voting behaviour, do not actually exist. Daniel Kahneman, who received the Nobel Prize for his work on the psychology of decision-making, has referred to priming as the “poster child for doubts about the integrity of psychological research”.

Given this state of affairs, basing a decision to remove Bibles from polling stations on beliefs about priming would involve privileging one form of superstition over another. – Yours, etc,

BENEN HARRINGTON,

Rathgar,

Dublin 6.

Sir, – The people have spoken. Life goes on for those already born. – Yours, etc,

NIAMH BONAR,

Foxrock ,

Dublin 18.

Sir, – The Yes and No sides should consider joining forces to advocate for the many children and families living in hotels and B&Bs.This would be a positive way forward for the nation to unite behind a single cause. – Yours, etc,

JOHN CAUL,

Portmarnock,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – In the thunderous context of the country’s latest “social” referendum result, may I ask the Catholic Church, of which I have been a life-long and still practising member, how many “wake-up calls” it takes for the ostrich to take its head out the sand, have a look around and finally acknowledge and act on the basis that females constitute half of this country’s human population. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL GANNON,

Kilkenny.

Sir, – Congratulations, Leo Varadkar and Simon Harris, you have succeeded. Succeeded in dividing this country and alienating one-third of the population. You could have catered for everyone and amended the Constitution. Instead you have created a new rift. A rift that will never go away. Some legacy! And if you think one-third of the population is just going to roll over, you are mistaken. Your battle may be won but the war has only started! – Yours, etc,

ANNE McGRATH,

Rathfarnham,

Dublin 16.

Sir, – Fair play to Leo Varadkar, who nailed his colours to the mast early on in the Yes campaign. If he can now make use of the momentum gathered, especially among younger people, and make Ireland a place in which they want to stay rather than to leave, that would be truly progressive. – Yours, etc,

Yours etc,

NOEL BILLINGTON,

Louisburgh,

Co Mayo.

Sir, – Well done, Ireland! This is encouraging to us in the US as we fight Donald Trump’s attempts to roll back women’s reproductive healthcare. Thank you, Ireland. – Yours, etc,

PETER CIRKER,

Newark,

Delaware.

Sir, – The people have spoken. Let the legislators get on with putting the result into law. – Yours, etc,

TIM RYAN,

Dunboyne,

Co Meath.

Sir, – Who said “new politics” was an illusion? Micheál Martin deserves great kudos for putting the health of women ahead of any political consideration. His support for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment – a stance that has angered many members of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party – was a brave and principled position to pursue and was a clear demonstration that when it comes to issues of critical national importance, “new politics” can have a crucial role to play. – Yours, etc,

PAUL DELANEY,

Dalkey,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – The Taoiseach was the first of many to describe the referendum result as historic. Indeed it was.

But history can sometimes make one ashamed of one’s country.

For me, sadly, this was such a case. – Yours, etc,

CIARÁN CONNOLLY,

Raheny,

Dublin 5.

Sir, – As one who campaigned against the Eighth Amendment in 1983, I have a strong recollection of leading anti-choice figures contending, then as now, that politicians couldn’t be trusted on the issue of abortion; the decision had to be left to the people.

Now that the electorate has so sorely disappointed them in the recent referendum, perhaps, to paraphrase Brecht, they feel tempted to dissolve the people and elect another. – Yours, etc,

PAT ROONEY,

Clondalkin,

Dublin 22.

Sir, – The silent majority has spoken and declared a resounding Yes to removing the Eighth Amendment from our Constitution. Yes that is in fact also a No – to cruelty, bigotry, small-mindedness, hypocrisy, squinting windows and double standards. No to history repeating itself in the Magdalene laundries, in Kerry, in Longford, in Galway and Tuam.

Yes, finally, to compassion, understanding and fair-mindedness towards all women in fateful circumstances and difficult times. Yes to life. – Yours, etc,

PATRICIA MULKEEN,

Ballinfull,

Sligo.