We’ll all be be a while figuring all the huge positive consequences of Ireland becoming one of the strongest pro-choice countries in the world, but one or two things spring to mind straightaway.
First, this isn’t just about Ireland, it’s about a global fight for women’s rights, especially abortion rights. Our victory will be a huge boost to pro-choice campaigners on every continent.
But it’s even bigger than that. We have inflicted the first serious defeat on the Global New Right. A no-choice Ireland was to be their hat-trick score, after Brexit & Trump. We have shown that, & how, the new right can not just be beaten, but trashed. It’s a long time since Ireland was so important on a global scale for progress & human rights – last time was 1916-21. This is huge.
Thirdly, a United Ireland brought about by peaceful & democratic means is now a bigger possibilty by far. No Unionist can claim we are ruled by Rome, & protestant women & children are safer by far in a United Ireland than ruled by the bully-boys of Ballymena. We should patiently campaign for a plebiscite in the six counties to take place sometime in the next few years.
But first we must get our own house in proper order. We must finish the job of destroying for all time the Vatican State’s nefarious influence over our schools & hospitals. Catholic clergy should be as welcome as anybody else to serve in our education & health sectors, but they can no longer be allowed to have a controlling say in matters such as school entry requirements, curriculum, hospital policies etc etc
If we sort that out we can honestly offer a safe & welcoming home to all people on the island of Ireland.
The big political question in the immediate term however is how much of the momentum of the repeal campaign & be carried over into other urgent struggles such as that to end homelessness, or to free refugees from the barbaric direct provision system, or to properly care for & respect our Traveller ethnic minority.
It is women & children who suffer most in these poor, abandoned Irelands – abuse, forced sex-work, addiction & mental health issues are rife. We can’t claim to have true women’s rights in Ireland until we sort this out.
And you can be sure Kate O Connell & Josepha Madigan et al will be no help to us there.
A lot won, but a lot more to win in other words.
I am very confident we have started on the road to a New Ireland & that the people’s movement will not now cease or abandon all those who need its support.