The Eighth Amendment


A chara, – I share the concerns expressed by your correspondent Paddy Barry (March 19th) regarding the proposed process to change our Constitution. Put simply, we are being asked to remove a unique and valuable constitutional protection of life, and thereafter, “trust” our politicians to legislate sensitively and responsibly, in all our interests.

Given the unstable parliamentary arithmetic, we can have no clear idea as to what such legislation might actually entail. Indeed, rather worryingly, precedents suggest that the precise terms might ultimately reflect pressures for unrelated services, such as Garda stations or medical facilities.

We are now being asked to put rather a lot of trust in politicians, whose record on a wide range of important issues is, to put it mildly, far from stellar. – Is mise,



Co Mayo.

Sir, – While not saying whether I agree or disagree with his viewpoint on the upcoming referendum, I have to admire the honesty and clarity of Billy Kelleher’s column on the issue (“Why I was persuaded abortion up to 12 weeks should be allowed”, Opinion & Analysis, March 22nd). Maybe there is hope for politics and politicians after all. – Yours, etc,


Carrick on Shannon,

Co Leitrim.

Sir, – It is good news that the data protection commissioner is “following up” with Facebook Ireland on who the social media giant allows to access its user’s personal data (News, March 20th). This comes in the wake of reports of alleged misuse of private data by the UK behavioural targeting firm Cambridge Analytica, especially during the 2016 US presidential election.

The Irish pro-life lobby has hired a London-based political consultancy whose managing director previously worked as a consultant to Cambridge Analytica. As such the issue of the micro-targeting of social media users with political advertisements is of particular relevance to Ireland and the fair conduct of the campaign for the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

I have been a regular user of Facebook for the last decade and my homepage clearly reflects my pro-choice views. I have noticed that I have recently been “targeted” with anti-abortion material. It seems highly unlikely that it is a coincidence that this is happening so close to a vote on the Eighth Amendment. – Yours, etc,


Arbour Hill,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – The fact that we, the Irish people, approved the 13th and 14th Amendments to our Constitution came up a lot in the most recent Dáil debates. It’s so hard to understand how a country could vote for the right to travel to terminate a pregnancy and to get information on the same, but to reject the same happening here – a “not in my backyard” mentality that we simply can’t continue to have as a country.

Women’s healthcare is not an aspect of healthcare that can or should be exported. And the fact is that, with the abortion pill now freely available on the internet, early-term abortions are happening every day in Ireland. We can’t continue to hide from this fact. 

Ireland is the place that I chose to settle down, to work and pay taxes, and to have my family. When I made that decision, I didn’t think about my rights to healthcare as a woman. These constraints have only become clear to me over the last few years.

Irish people don’t talk openly about women’s healthcare, in particular the topic of having a baby is only discussed with respect to the wonder of it. Well it’s not always a bed of roses.

Support only comes when people are open and honest. Irish people have gained nothing good from our history of hiding, being fearful, being silenced. It’s time to speak up. It’s time to have conversations about this important topic. Let’s move forward together. – Yours, etc,