This weekend thousands of people protested in Dublin and cities around the world against Ireland's strict anti-abortion laws, calling for a referendum on the issue in the predominantly Catholic country. And yesterday a group of Irish politicians made a powerful gesture in support of the cause by letting their clothes do the talking. Six members of the AAA-PBP alliance (Anti-Austerity Alliance–People Before Profit) wore black Repeal sweatshirts in the Irish parliament, the Dáil. The sweatshirts, with the word "REPEAL" written in white capital letters across the front, are a pro-choice symbol in Ireland. The word refers to the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Irish constitution, a law passed in 1983 which effectively outlaws abortion in Ireland.
The sweatshirts were created by Anna Cosgrave as “an outerwear project meant to give voice to a hidden problem”, according to the official Repeal Project Twitter account. They are sold online (but are currently out of stock), and in the Dublin shop Indigo and Cloth. Ruth Coppinger of the AAA-PBP, dressed in her sweatshirt, called on the Taoiseach, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, to hold a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment, RTE reported.
She said 165,000 women had been forced to travel outside Ireland for abortions since 2011, while Kenny has been in the Dáil. Kenny said he had spoken to some of the weekend's protestors and that the issue remains divisive in the country. Citing an opinion poll as evidence, Coppinger said she believed the Irish people would vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment if a referendum were held.