Category Archives: Press

One week on from telling my story @Ireland.

This time last week I was curating the @Ireland account. It is a twitter account which changes curator each week. I had applied for the account before Christmas and was chosen for the week of February the 10th to the 17th. The plan was to talk about the things which I am passionate about, to get people to talk about their passions to talk about love spells, our Irish God of Love. I am a pretty diverse person, so I knew I would have a lot to talk about.

My first tweet on the Monday morning was “Hello World”, delighted me to do as it’s a old coding joke. My bio on the account read “pagan, feminist, activist, gamer, geek, and a parent with two teenagers.” From Monday morning up until early Thursday afternoon I hadn’t tweeted anything which was pro choice or Abortion Rights Campaign related. Then I RT some of the Irish Family Planing Association, tweets about their safer sex workshops in colleges.

I got replies from what I assume are anti abortion people slamming the IFPA, I didn’t address anyone in particular, but I did state that I was Pro Choice, had an abortion myself and worked with the Abortion Rights Campaign. The furor and outrage this caused was considerable.

I did my best to ignore it and get on with my day and the topics I had intended on talking about.
But the tweets kept coming, none of them addressing me directly but discussing what I had said including @Ireland. I got my kids to bed and looked at the tweets and I had already decided that
I would talk about my involvement with ARC, and was going to mention it late Thursday so that it
did not become the focus of my use of the account. But the shaming language being used to hopefully silence me made me mad.

Irish women generally don’t say I had an abortion, and they don’t tell their story often.
And when we do hear stories they are about women have been raped, or who have died, or have cancer or a pregnancy with fatal fetal abnormalities. We don’t tend to hear from women who say
I didn’t want to be a parent, it wasn’t the right time for me to have a baby. Women who make that Choice. That choice which to some is unacceptable, unforgivable and selfish, and they say that loudly.

So just after 10:35pm last Thursday, I having asked a few friends to be online if I needed them for moral support I started to tell my story. That I was in secondary school when the X case happened, to finding out I was pregnant, having to travel, what that was like, coming home, keeping secrets, supporting other women who needed access to information and support when they came home. To my dismay at the national poster campaign which was around the country in July 2012 and how that brought pro choice people together and finding commonality and solidarity.

The mainstream media don’t cover stories like mine, I am unrepentant about having had an abortion, my only regret is that I had to travel and the extra stress that caused.
Mostly online I had an out pouring of support, people who were listening and thanked me.
I would say less then 10% of the tweets I got were negative or abusive, and they only came from a small number of people.

When I signed off Thursday evening from the @Ireland account the number of followers were up, it was a relief that they didn’t go down but they had actually gone up. I knew I had broken taboos and the silence and refused to be shamed and stigmatized. I was happy I told my story on my terms, I didn’t expect what happened next.

What happened next was news outlets picked up on the story, my story and published pieces on it.

And then the Swedish National Broadcaster got in touch for an interview for their leading current affairs program and this happened.

The same french paper who printed Simone de Bouvir’s Manifesto of the 343, about her abortion and the women who signed it, printed my story.

It hasn’t all been unconditional support there was an article today which slated me questioned my Choice, my Sanity, my Spirituality. Pretty much displaying the type of rhetoric which is used to shame and silence people. That isn’t going to work on me but then again it’s not aimed at me, it’s aimed at stopping another woman or more women from sharing their stories.

Invisible people have invisible rights, I know I am one of 150,000 people who traveled to the UK for an abortion, I know aprox 12 women day travel to the UK and others travel to Belgium or Holland and there are some who don’t have the money or the option to travel and risk the 14 years jail sentence as per the new law, by talking the abortion pill.

Until people can speak out with out fear or shame, it will be an uphill struggle to force change
and to repeal the 8th amendment, because until that is done we can not legislate for the abortion rights most of the people in this country agree we should have. Never mind those who make the Choice for the same reasons I did.

Some of the most moving things I have seen this week, are tweets from women to me with just two words, just saying “Thank You”. Just two words but they convey so much and seeing people I am
friends with on Facebook linking to the BBC article and saying “I am Janet, I had an abortion”.

There has been international media coverage, as well as coverage from, the UK, France and the USA but as of yet none by Irish media. I can’t say this surprises me. 20 years ago RTE commissioned a documentary in which 3 women told their stories. It was considered to controversial to show. To this day it has never been screened.

It will be screened by the Abortion Rights Campaign on the 1st of March. This is the trailer
it features 3 women who were as brave as me 20 years ago but no one got to hear them.

promo 50,000 from hilary dully on Vimeo.

There are limited seats for the screening, if you want to see it, you will have to book a ticket.

I have been called infamous, notorious, selfish, immoral, misguided, brave, honest;
but I can but my hand on my heart and say, I have absolutely no regrets about my decision to tell my story.

3somes and Blowjobs and Liveline, Oh my!

This week flew in with the kids being on Easter break so I’ve not written about this yet, but sure hear goes.

Yes I was on national radio this week for the first time, such was my ire at at the attitude on Liveline that I emailed the show. The segment was about the fuss Michelle “Fornication” Mulherin TD raised over one of the many articles on

For those of ye who don’t know what is, it is a website aimed at 16 to 25 year olds. is a website dedicated to helping you make informed decisions about things which may be happening in your life. It is also a place to have your voice heard about things which are bothering you or to provide solutions to some of the big, or small, problems facing Irish society. provides young people between the ages of 16 and 25 with the information and skills to deal with the difficult things life throws at us and lends a megaphone for our voices to be heard to change our own lives and the world.

An important part of is to give a voice to those who wish to tell their story in order to demonstrate to others that they are not alone, and that we all experience similar difficulties through the course of our lives.

We publish articles on sex, mental health, alcohol + drugs, education, employment and much more.

They are a registered charity and get a funding grant from the HSE which contributes to covering some of their over all costs.One of the many articles on the site was about 3somes, the pros and cons and addressing the facts. The notion that any tax payers money was being used to ‘promote’ 3somes to teenagers had Mulherin outraged.

It seems to have outraged some of the listeners and callers to Liveline also. I had been following the story about from the night before and while I am not a regular live line listener I did tune in and got so cross that I emailed the show stating I am a stay at home Mam in my late 30s, with two teenage kids and I support the work do.

They emailed me back asking for my phone number and then one of the production staff rang me and I was asked would I go on the show. Here is the podcast, I am on the last 10 minutes.

Yes I did say, anal sex, oral sex, 3some and the phrase ‘promoting blowjobs’ live on national radio to Joe Duffy, who doesn’t intimidate me at all, sure he grew up in the same part of Dublin as my Dad and is about the same age and all. I did ring and tell my parents afterwards, as a polite heads up and they laughed and said they were proud of me.

You see back in the mid 80s they ran parenting courses in primary schools for other parents, including the sex educational model and they have always been advocates of sex education, so I didn’t lick it off a stone.

When I listened to the podcast when it went up I was happy to have been able to plug some more helpful sites where people can get information. I mentioned the sex ed program the HSE put together but has a difficult time distrubting to parents the first section of it is Busy Bodies
aim at parents and children before puberty and I also mentioned The Facts and the other programs which can be gotten for free, which the HSE have spent money on.

I also mentioned that the NHS in the UK spends money on Sex Education websites and I mentioned as good resources for young people, so much better at them learning about sex and sexuality then just by looking at porn.

Looking back I am glad I took part on the program, as Amanda Palmer has said “We are the Media” and we do have to challenge the the notion that Ireland is still a very conservative catholic country and part of that is having our voices heard, even on Liveline.

And having had Joe Duffy say “That if you are asked to be in a 3some, just say no.” still makes me laugh.