Amnesty International Ireland today launched the first in a series of videos as part of ‘Its Time’ campaign for a Yes vote in the referendum on the Eighth Amendment. Further videos will be released in the coming week as part of the Men for Yes strand of the campaign.
You can watch video here.
In the video, writer and director Graham Linehan, actor and comedian Ardal O’Hanlon and Irish rugby star Shane Horgan, call on the men of Ireland to stand with the women they care about and vote yes on 25th May. Recent polling has confirmed what is known anecdotally: that men are currently less likely to vote on 25th May than women, which is one key reasons for the Men for Yes initiative.
“In a spirit of, I suppose, chivalry, I’ve seen men say that this is a matter for women, and they intend to leave the vote to them. But if as a man, you respect the right of women and girls to have control over their bodies, their health and their lives, then it’s not enough to believe or even say it, you have to actively work to make it a reality. If you don’t vote, and this referendum doesn’t pass, you will have contributed to its defeat. Everyone’s vote will be critical in this referendum, whoever they are. So I am asking people to stand up and be counted. To stand with women and vote Yes,” said Graham Linehan.
“My wife and I’s first pregnancy failed but we were in the UK. It was only when I came to Ireland that my wife and I realised, that she would have had fewer rights in Ireland. And ever since then, I’ve been furious that I brought my wife to somewhere she wasn’t safe. Repealing the Eighth will help create the kind of Ireland that we can all be proud of. Ireland’s history is chequered with some terrible crimes against women. The Magdalen laundries, the mass graves at Tuam, the X case, Savita. All of these things, we can’t ever really apologise for them but we can at least create a country where these things can’t happen again. And I think that’s something we should all fight for.”
“This is an issue that first and foremost affects women obviously. But the idea that this isn’t about men too is just not true. How many of us have seen the women in our lives being forced to travel to the UK, or been made to feel ashamed and isolated, even afraid of being criminalised, because they are in a crisis pregnancy? If the Eighth Amendment isn’t repealed, all of this will remain the same. So now is the time for men to stand with women, and vote yes. Now is the time to vote for compassion, equality, dignity and respect,” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.
“We’re now at a critical moment in the referendum campaign, with only weeks left to go. The fact that polls are telling us that men are marginally more likely to vote yes but that potentially 11% less will vote than women, is something men need to be talking about. Because not going to the polling station on 25th May is essentially voting to keep Ireland as it is now, and for the generations of women and girls to come. We cannot pretend any more that we do not know the grave harm, stigma and isolation that this means for the women we care about. We have an opportunity to end the daily violations of human rights caused by the Eighth Amendment. But that can only happen if we stand with women, turn up on May 25, and vote Yes.”