More than 60,000 pro-life people gathered for what sponsors are calling the largest-ever pro-life rally against abortion that Ireland has ever seen.
With a vote looming in the Irish Parliament to legalize abortions, pro-life advocates are pulling out all the stops to rally public opinion against the bill before a final vote is taken on Wednesday.
“Some 60,000 people marched from Parnell Sqaure to Dåil Eireann to send a strong message to Enda Kenny and the Irish Government that we the people do not want abortion and want our right to vote on this crucial issue,” the Pro Life Campaign said about the event.
Caroline Simons, Legal Consultant to the Pro Life Campaign who also spoke at the Rally, said ‘The event today again demonstrates the strength of opposition to this flawed legislation. It is time for the Government to step back and consider what other issue has tens of thousands of people repeatedly willing to come out on the streets to express their views. The people of Ireland don’t want to see abortion in our hospitals, they want women and their unborn children to enjoy the full protection of our laws. It’s time for the Government to scrap this unjust Bill’
“Let those Senators and TDs use the power granted to them under article 27 of our constitution to let the people speak on this bill,” Declan Ganley told the crowd to sustained applause. “Let us vote. Let us pass judgement on Enda Kenny’s abortion bill in a referendum. He says his book is the constitution. Well use it, Taoiseach. He says he trusts the people. Well prove it, Taoiseach. He says this is a matter of grave concern to the public. Well ask them, Taoiseach. ”
Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute added that: “If you refuse, Taoiseach, to let the people vote, then the people will be heard. 100,000 people have already signed the pro-life pledge, 100,000 will seek to build a new political alternative, 100,000 will remember Taoiseach, that if you ram through this law, you are the abortion Taoiseach and Fine Gael is the abortion party, and they will seek an alternative which protects both mother and baby. ”
Fine Gael, she said, had now awoken a sleeping giant, that would work night and day to build an alternative to political parties who broke their promises and betrayed their principles.
Dr Eoghan de Faoite of Youth Defence said the Rally Committee was “absolutely delighted with the huge turnout” and that “there was a huge momentum building to let the people vote on the Bill using Article 27 of the Constitution.”
“This initiative came from within Fine Gael itself and is also being promoted by the former Labour TD Colm Keaveney, so it’s clear that the desire to let the people vote has support across the parties,” he said. “What is Enda Kenny afraid of? ”
The Rally also heard from Bernadette Smyth of Precious Life who said that the measure would impact on the whole island of Ireland and was out of step with the majority of people in the north of Ireland. “The All Party Pro-Life Group from Stormont is represented here today, since this is a matter for All-Ireland, as we stand together against abortion,” she said.
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Tracy Harkin told the Rally that “almost 7 years ago my husband Tom and I were told our baby girl Kathleen Rose was diagnosed with a condition called trisomy 13, a condition sometimes described as being ‘incompatible with life’.”
“Well, Kathleen Rose is with us here today. She is not incompatible with life: she is the love of our lives,” she said to rapturous applause.
Bands, face-painting, family fun and music gave a carnival-like atmosphere to the Rally but the speeches at Leinster House focused on the consequences for Fine Gael if the Bill is made law without consulting the people.
Close to 100,000 pledges have been signed by voters saying they will never vote for Fine Gael again because of the legislation. Niamh Ui Bhriain said that the time was “ripe for a new political alternative which would not betray serious electoral promises on matters of life and death”.
Before the Rally for Life on Saturday, Archbishops Diarmuid and Eamon Martin celebrated Mass in St. Savior’s Church, Dominick St at 12.30pm. The Rally leaves Parnell Square for Leinster House at 2pm.