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Referendum Road Trip: Speaking with IMELDA
The IMELDAs joined the campaign to repeal in
Waterford Cork Clare Galway Sligo Leitrim.
See what the repealers were doing in each place.  



Galway - Clare 


In a referendum on the 25th of May 2018 The Republic of Ireland voted to repeal the 8th Amendment to the constitution, enabling the government to legislate access to abortion. The public voted by 66.4% to 33.6% to end the ban on abortion, a historic victory for reproductive rights campaigners. In the run-up to the 2018 referendum, as part of our project, Referendum Road: Speaking with IMELDA, we pitched an inflatable sofa in public spaces across Ireland asking the question: Should Ireland Continue to Make England the Legal Destination for Abortion? Our mobile pop-up chat show travelled to locations less frequently reported on, including Waterford, Cork, Ennis, Galway, Sligo and Leitrim. 

Our Referendum Road Trip, gained attention as it crossed through Waterford, Cork, Clare, Galway, Sligo and Leitrim ahead of the referendum on May 25th. The project contains ten minute films made in each location that gather and reflect on the perspectives of the Yes Campaign at local level and the grassroots people around the country who were working so hard on this issue and who have forced a volte face from many politicians and political parties. Campaigners, musicians, poets, film makers, trade unionists, local politicians and the passer-by have all told us what they think. 


The content deals seriously with the questions raised by the referendum but also uses inventive performance to discuss and show the subjects that have haunted the Irish population in the last decade around the historical treatment of women in Ireland, while strengthening the reasons why the 8th must be repealed at regional and local level. The films include performances at Ballinspittle's moving statue in Cork, the peak of Knocknarea mountain in Sligo (mythical burial site of Queen Maeve), bidding on bulls at a cattle mart in Ennis; some female 'powerhouse' busking in Galway, and a performance of 'The Stolen Child' at a waterfall in Leitrim. 

Since the 1980s members of IMELDA have been amongst those meeting the 10 women a day at airports in London giving some of them financial help, care and shelter. In returning home to support local conversation on repealing the 8th Amendment, Speaking of IMELDA also posed the question:

Why would Ireland continue to make England the Legal Destination for Abortion?


In answering this we show the hidden work that has been undertaken by Irish women abroad to alleviate the problem of the 8th Amendment. 


These films track the momentum of the Repeal movement and YES Campaign, providing information on how to talk about a difficult subject. During the campaign these provided excellent materials to help convince friends and the undecided. They were also made by the IMELDAs to honour and document the achievements of Repealers and Yes campaigners for five years of long hard work.


We visited Waterford with our mobile chat-show and red sofa to seat anyone who wanted to discuss the referendum.  We blahed with Rise and Repeal, People Before Profit, Parents for Choice, Grannies for Choice, Sinn Fein and Pro choice Waterford. Older IMELDAs related their stories in supporting Irish women on the abortion underground trail over many years in London through the Irish Women’s Abortion Support Group, now succeeded by the Abortion Support Network.  


We stopped in Cork with our mobile chat-show and red sofa to seat anyone who wanted to discuss the referendum. We met: Cork Together for Yes, Parents for Choice, Disabled People for Choice,  Rebels for Choice; Mary Crilly from Domestic Violence, Cork who was recently voted Cork person of the month; the film maker Oonagh Kearney whose short film, The Christeningwas used as evidence in the Citizen’s Assembly; Dr. Sandra McEvoy, former coordinator of Woman’s Studies in UCC, and finally some fascinating and brave women from Ballinspittle who were girls at the moment of the moving statue phenomenon.  

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