It was a wonderful evening, I got there early, meet Mr Hamilton, gave him a packet of his fav biscuits, did our prep work and then it was on with the show.
It was a fun and wide ranging conversation about his work, how he works, what works for him and how everyone has to find what works for them, to how science fiction books ideally are to make people think and consider questions they may not otherwise.
He was lovely in person, very much a gent and after the event we popped over to Eddie Rockets for a burger and kept talking away.
Thank you so much to https://www.redlinebookfestival.ie/ for the opportunity.
Salvation is out now and it is the start of a new trilogy.
We did it. They listened.
Reflecting on last weekend’s Yes vote.
Shouts outs in this to the members of TFMR Ireland, I hope this means they don’t have to tell their stories again, and esp to Amanda Mellet who is suing Ireland and winning put pressure on the Government to resolve this.
Also to Tara Flynn, if you can buy her books as a token of thanks and support.
To Amanda Palmer who’s book the Art of Asking and her sharing her own stories about her abortions helped me long my way.
To everyone who put their shoulder to the wheel, who helped start and grow the abortion rights campaign, who set up other groups, who held meetings and did stalls when there was no inkling of a referendum, to all those who marched, leafleted, who canvassed, to those who could not, but had the important conversations with the people in their life, and all those who shared their stories.
Thank you, thank you so much.
and to everyone who voted, Yes. Thank you
They Listened, WE did it.
Yes this post is entitled:
Thank you Pope Francis & the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church for your part in #repealthe8th.
Let me explain why.
See the thing is, the Roman Catholic Church last year changed its policy in relation to excommunication in relation to abortions. It used to be if you had an abortion or helped someone have one, you were automatically excommunicated, & need to see a bishop to reconcile with the Church.
In 2016 the RC Church had a year of extraordinary mercy, and down grade the level of sin, so you could see your local parish priest to be reconciled. So many people, mostly women did this, that they down graded abortion & helping in any way (money, info ect) to a matter for your parish priest permanently.
Which means having an abortions or being complicit in someone else having one, became the same level as ordinary Sin. This was a huge shift in attitudes which is rarely spoken about.
It made it easier for many mass attending Catholics, to #VoteYes. I have devote Catholics in my life, the conversations around this have been fascinating.
And when the year was done the RC Pope (he is one of 3 popes) extended the terms permanently.
So your parish priest who’d you’d confess all your everyday sins to, could absolve you from your sin of abortion and reconcile you to the church. I am not Roman Catholic, but I know women who are, who use contraception, who have had abortions and this brought them ease and comfort.
I genuinely believe this helped us #repealthe8th, but I never saw it covered in our media, esp by religious correspondents, even when it happened, and it’s a seismic change.
Knowing this I had zero concerns in taking part in performances of The Renunciation.
The Refrain in it was “People of Ireland, lift up your voices. We are all worthy of our right to choose”. And we did.
So thank you Pope Francis & the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church for your part in #repealthe8th.
But honestly @Pontifex you are still wrong when it comes to LGB people & esp Trans people, protecting pedophiles, protecting abusers, wanting control of schools & hospitals & failing to make reparations. Maybe sort that before visiting.
I’ve been rather sick the last week or so, I even lost my voice!
But now that it is back I am going to record pretty much the speech which I have been giving all around the country for the last few years.
— Janet Ní Shúilleabháin (@JanetOS_) May 10, 2018
I was invited down to Nenagh by the Tipperary for yes team. It was wonderful to meet them, some of them I have been chatting with on twitter for years.
I had never been to Nenagh before and was looking forward to the trip. It isn’t a long journey down, it’s about two and a half hours, the same as getting to many other towns and city across the country.
I was speaking with Nurse Polly from Midwifes for Choice, Arlette Lyons from Terminations for Medical Reasons and Matt Doncel from Lawyers for choice.
We had a fantastic Information Evening in Nenagh last night!
Thanks so much to our inspiring speakers, @JanetOS_ @MattDoncel @NursepollyRgn and @Arlettemlyons!!@Midwives4Choice @Lawyers4Choice @TFMRIRE #TogetherForYes @Together4Yes #RepealThe8th #TippRepealers #TeamTipp pic.twitter.com/SBihyBdJD4
— Tipp Together for Yes (@TipperaryForYes) May 11, 2018
We had a lot of questions about what provision (services) will look like after legislation and how it needs to be Free, Safe, Legal and Local so that people don’t have to travel to far to access it, esp with the proposed 72 hour waiting time.
Also about the process via which legislation goes through the Dáil and Senand, how that process may change the proposed legislation.
After (fingers crossed) we get a Yes result on the 26th of May we need to support our TDs in bringing forward the legislation. We need to tell them the type of legislation and provision we want to see across the country.
For a very long time the other side was regularly in contact with TDs making the point they would loose vote and possibly their seat if they did not fall in line with their ideology. We need to let our TDs know how many of us are Pro Repeal and Pro Choice and that they would loose our vote for voting against healthdcare inline with best international pratice and which has a human rights framework.
Unsure who your TDs are, you can find out here www.whoismytd.com
— Janet Ní Shúilleabháin (@JanetOS_) May 10, 2018
Again thank you to Tipperary For Yes for inviting me down to speak.
Hello from Wexford, I was in invited down by Wexford Together for Yes to be a speaker at their meeting last night in the River Bank Hotel.
It was a great meeting with a lot of discussion, questions and people sharing their stories. I was one of three speakers, and was joined by Siona Cahill Vice President of USI and Colm O’Gorman of Amnesty Ireland. It was my first time on a panel with Colm and it was lovely to be in his home county with him.
Why do we have the 8th Amendment?
Because from 1935 to 1978 contraception was illegal in Ireland. Contraception was legal at the founding of our State but in 1935 given the rise in the importation of contraception (mostly condoms) the then Taoiseach after consultation with the Bishop changed the law so that the importation and sale of contraception was illegal.
This remained the case until 1973 when a lady name May McGee took a high court case and won the right to contraception on the grounds of privacy in marriage, but it took 5 years before legislation was passed and enacted.
The fact contraception was made legal on the grounds of privacy caused a hell of a stir as it was on those grounds in the USA that abortion was made legal. And so the conservative forces set about working to get something in constitutional law which would forbid abortion.
And here we are 35 years later working to undo that, so that we may have compassionate healthcare here in Ireland.
24 days to go. Keep having the chats, the discussions. They are what is important. I had a lady ask me as I boarded the Wexford bus yesterday where did I get my badge as she hadn’t had a chance to get one yet. I gave her mine.
She asked was I sure and I told her no bother I would get another one at the meeting in Wexford town, she said she couldnt make that one cos of her kids, but would be making the fundraiser in a few days in Gormanstown. Talk to as many people as you can.
And if you have questions I can help with give me a shout, either via twitter @janetos_ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Again thank you to those who donated to my go fundme for making all this possible.
Next stop for me is Dundalk on Wednesday the 2nd of May in the Táin arts centre at 7pm, Hope to see more of you there.
This wonderful piece was written by Deborah Curran who has given me permission to reproduce it here.
For the Men who think the Eighth Amendment has nothing to do with them.
I was told by a man last week that he wasn’t going to vote in the upcoming referendum to remove the eighth amendment, not because he didn’t agree, he did! But he felt it wasn’t his place, it was a woman’s issue and women should be the ones to decide over their own bodies. He was a lovely, respectful, caring, married man, with daughters. I spoke to other men at a fundraiser last week who told me that they too are supporting a yes vote and while they will vote they did not speak to other men about the 8th amendment or abortion. In all cases, these men felt that not alone were they not affected by the eighth amendment but men, in general, were not impacted by it.
The fact is, the eighth generally doesn’t affect any of us until the worst happens, and since 1980 the worst has happened to 170,216 women who have traveled. However, this number doesn’t take account of the men involved. 70% of women from Ireland who access abortions are married or in a relationship…with a man.
This is something to do with men. Its often men who also travel, they book flights, find money, sit in waiting rooms sick with worry before getting her home, both exhausted and broken from the trauma, shame, and secrecy. None of the men I spoke to had even considered men in this scenario, they are completely overlooked.
There are men who hold their devastated partner as they get the news that their baby won’t survive outside the womb. In Ireland, the eighth means these women and men must see a pregnancy through to full-term, 39 weeks. For some couples they may want to do this but for many they travel. They can’t psychologically deal with knowing their baby may be in pain, or the risk to the woman’s life should something go wrong, or the utter mental trauma of grieving while still pregnant. These men have to help their partner through the devastation of delivering their stillborn baby away from home and their families and doctors. They sometimes take the boat so they can bring their baby back…in the boot of their car! A 10-hour journey. Can you even imagine this? It’s so utterly disrespectful to all involved but voting yes will ensure these men and women will be at home with their support network.
How many Dads think this is nothing to do with them? The eighth means that in the case of a pregnancy complication where their daughter’s life is threatened, she must be in ‘immediate’ danger before doctors can treat her and as we have sadly seen, sometimes this is just too late. It means in the case of a cancer diagnosis, she possibly cannot get treatment while pregnant, it means that if she is raped she has to see through the pregnancy. Remember this, its 35 years since the last vote, that’s a generation of women, a generation of fathers who were helpless in the face of the eighth amendment. Voting yes ensures that if a crisis pregnancy every comes to your door, your daughter is at home with your support, under Irish care in an Irish hospital.
If you are a fertile heterosexual male who has sex it is your issue too. The majority of crisis pregnancies happen because contraception has failed. Yet this one failure results in a couple ending up in an abortion clinic in another country. It’s only when this happens Irish men realise the eighth does have something to do with them. To this point they didn’t realise it’s illegal to take abortion pills, or that it’s between €400 and €1500 for the clinic, or that flights and boats are so expensive at certain times of the year and they don’t realise how quickly time runs out when trying to organise this.
If you still think it isn’t a man’s place to vote, you are wrong! This is not a time to be respectful, it is not a time to leave this to women. Women, your women, your daughters, your partners, your sisters, your friends, they can’t do this on their own. They cannot change this without you. They cannot get access to safe terminations, at home with their partners, unless you vote yes. You can be sure the men who are happy with the current limitations the eighth imposes on doctors and women will definitely turn out to vote no. And without men voting yes on May 25th this referendum will not pass. Abortion is not nice, no one, man or woman wants this, no man or woman chooses it as the easy option, but life is full of grey areas and the eighth is designed for black and white, it’s simply not working! Doctors are saying they cannot do their jobs, they are saying abortion is here, either through illegal pills or airline flights. It’s time we brought our women and our men home. Your yes vote matters, not just to women but to men too, your friends, your family, your colleagues and it might even matter to you one day, but if you don’t vote or if you vote no, you may sadly join the club of the shamed and silenced who have gone before you.
Deborah Curran is also on twitter, you can find her here.