The debate around the eight amendment has been a constant issue in Irish politics for the past few years and with the referendum on repealing the 8th to be held at some time this year the debate is set to go on for the next few months. The prospect of improving Ireland’s draconian abortion laws has been central to politicising large sections of Irish youth.
According to a recent poll 60 percent of people support repealing the eight amendment, with 74 percent of young people supporting repeal, while there is widespread public support for repealing the eight the minority opposing repeal have the support of several high profile politicians.
Currently 121 TDs have declared weather they support the repeal of the eight or not. Of this 121, 40 have come out against changing Ireland’s abortion law including high profile rural independents who style themselves as standing up for the interests of rural Ireland.
Rural independents such as Mattie McGrath, Michael FitzMaurice and the Healy Raes have all stated their opposition to changing Ireland’s abortion laws. This is despite thousands of rural women being forced to travel to the UK each year for abortions.
Danny Healy Rae and Mattie Mcgrath both publicly opposed the marriage equality referendum. The lack of support for equality issues from the self styled champions of rural Ireland shows their disconnect with the rural youth, the inability of these rural independents to reflect the views of the rural youth also reflects a broader inability of these independents to effectively challenge the political system which has created the two speed economy and forced thousands of young people to leave in order to find work. Just as they side with the most regressive part of the establishment of social issues they continuously side with the neo liberal economic consensus of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.