This week, Theresa May called a snap election, the Sisters of Charity are being given a maternity hospital, and the #WeAreIrish hashtag celebrated diversity in Ireland. The Citizens’ Assembly also voted in favour of changing Ireland’s abortion laws, but to replace the 8th amendment with something else.
Department of Health to give new national #maternityhospital to nuns
On Tuesday it was reported that the new national maternity hospital was to be given to the Sisters of Charity, a religious group who have failed to pay the entirety of their contribution to a redress scheme for those affected by church abuse. Ownership of the maternity hospital, which is set to move from Holles street to Elm Park, is to be given to the Sisters of Charity once construction is finished. Minister for Health Simon Harris has stated that the group will not benefit financially from ownership of the hospital.
The decision received much criticism from, well, just about everybody really. To most, it was illogical that the state would even consider affiliating a maternity hospital with a group who were directly involved with the management of the Magdalene Laundries, and who still owe €3 million to church abuse survivors. To others, the church’s continued influence and control over women and children in Ireland was not a surprising development, but one that still warranted frustration and anger, and one that needed to be fixed.
Following the report, over 50,000 people signed a petition to block the Sisters of Charity from becoming sole owners of the new hospital. Protests have been taking place throughout the week, with hundreds turning out to demand the decision be reconsidered.
On Friday, chairman of St. Vincent’s Healthcare group Jimmy Menton said that the status of the new hospital was to be reviewed due to the recent “controversy and misinformation” surrounding the situation.
'Giving' new national maternity hospital to Sisters of Charity is an unconscionable insult to Irish women. They have no place in hospitals.
— Laura Kennedy (@LooraKennedy) April 18, 2017
"They owe us hundreds of millions and refuse to compensate their victims"
"Have you tried giving them a hospital?" https://t.co/7ThlaIAakh
— Peadar Ó Caomhánaigh (@TheKavOfficial) April 18, 2017
so tell me again how repealing the 8th isn't a religious issue when you're giving MATERNITY HOSPITALS to NUNS. sure no religion here cool
— sarah deadline griff (@griffski) April 18, 2017
'Look how realistic this model is. They even included tiny nuns laughing at us all.' pic.twitter.com/XssbPgBDec
— Damien Owens (@OwensDamien) April 20, 2017
"After shoving 800 babies into a septic tank, we believe the Catholic Church would be perfect for the new Maternity hospital" – Simon Harris
— Ryan Cullen (@RyanCullen90) April 20, 2017
Simon Harris says Sisters of Charity "will not profit" from new maternity hospital. Totally misses the point. It's about CONTROL, not profit
— Sinead Ryan (@sinead_ryan) April 20, 2017
#CitizensAssembly votes to change Ireland’s abortion laws, and to replace, not #repealthe8th
On Saturday, the Citizens’ Assembly voted in favour of changing Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws. 87 members of the assembly decided that the current wording of the 8th amendment was not acceptable, and that it should not be retained in the constitution.
However, progress was stilted when the results of the assembly’s second ballot revealed that 50 people had voted in favour of replacing the 8th amendment with something else, instead of removing it. A full repeal of the 8th would mean that abortion and women’s bodies would no longer have a place in the Irish constitution, and that the decision to have or to not have an abortion would be a personal choice – one that would be legislated for accordingly.
Following the results of the second ballot, users took to Twitter to express their disappointment. However, it remains to be seen exactly what will be included in the final recommendation the assembly plan to make to the government.
Abortion seekers will continue to take abortion pills illegally and go abroad. We need repeal not replace #CitizensAssembly
— CuteCatriona (@CuteCatriona) April 22, 2017
The number of women who will travel for an abortion *today* is more than the vote balance at #citizensassembly. Fuck sake.
— Steph F (@Stephanenny) April 22, 2017
— RepealEight (@repealeight) April 22, 2017
You can repeal the 8th or trade
it in for whats in this mystery box pic.twitter.com/AGb0IAg6gw
— Jiffy (@jiffington) April 22, 2017
On so we carry on. FIGHTING.
— AnnaCosgrave (@AnaCosgrave) April 22, 2017
#TheresaMay announces snap election
This week, UK prime minister Theresa May announced that there would be a general election held in June, despite previously stating that she would definitely not announce a general election any time soon. The announcement came as May said that a snap election was necessary to “make a success of Brexit.”
Of the decision, May said that the UK is uniting, but “Westminster is not.” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the announcement, stating that the interests of the majority needed to be adhered to.
Following the news, many took to Twitter to critique May’s decision, discuss potential election outcomes, and share some Corbyn memes.
'She said she wasn't going to call a general election'
Theresa May: pic.twitter.com/prWcL2qAou
— Kath (@thatgirlkath) April 18, 2017
me rolling up to the poll station June 8th ready to slap that X in the Labour box pic.twitter.com/1BYrthC1JG
— ☃️ christmas leah ☃️ (@flvral) April 19, 2017
A general election on June 8th. That doesn't give Gary Lineker much time to prepare the opposition, but I reckon he's up to it.
— Thundercock (@fatherwoIand) April 18, 2017
Statement from Corbyn about the upcoming general election:
"We have got to get our heads in the game" pic.twitter.com/WIj1LMEa9L
— Maaacheeew (@BigDirtyFry) April 18, 2017
Theresa May is so bad at being a prime minister that she managed to swear there wouldn’t be an election a month before calling an election
— Election Saboteur (@alexhern) April 20, 2017
Ireland’s diversity celebrated in #WeAreIrish tag
This week, diversity in Ireland was celebrated as Twitter users took to the #WeAreIrish hashtag to show that there wasn’t one specific way to be ‘Irish.’
The tag was started by Irish writer Una Kavanagh, who was tired of being discriminated against in her home because of the colour of her skin. She used Twitter to assemble a collage of faces that didn’t look “stereotypically Irish” and shared them under the hashtag to show that “#WeAreIrish. We are diverse. We are proud.”
Kavanagh said she started the project because she was sick of people asking where she was “really from.” Speaking to the Daily Edge, she said that “being Irish means not being defined by how I look and it means being accepted. It’s an uphill struggle that so many of us face.”
— Sahar (@saharmali) April 20, 2017
— sarah deadline griff (@griffski) April 20, 2017
— Amy Boo-ise (@Amylouioc) April 21, 2017
To the insecures hijacking #WeAreIrish : if people who happen to not be white being Irish is a threat to your culture, it's a shite culture.
— Adam A (@AdamA0208) April 19, 2017
Irish people of colour face unique challenges. Dont ignore the issues. Not everyone has privilege of saying "I don't see colour" #weareirish
— Dean Van Nguyen (@deanvannguyen) April 18, 2017