It was most appropriate that the Mná na hÉireann (Women of Ireland) led the march through Castlebar on Saturday. People both North and South have rejected abortion.
Thousands of marchers staged a colourful and noisy rally in the Taoiseach’s hometown, Castlebar, on Saturday, demanding that he keep a pro-life pledge they claim he made in the early stages of last year’s general election.
Twenty young women, carrying a large banner calling on Mr Kenny to “Keep your Pro-Life Promise” led the march through the town around lunchtime to the Taoiseach’s constituency office in Tucker Street and onwards to The Mall. The Taoiseach was not in his office on Saturday while the marchers were being addressed through a megaphone.
The organisers, Mayo Life Network and Mayo Youth Defence, said the large turnout sent a powerful message to the Taoiseach that he “must listen to the pro-life majority and reject attempts to foist abortion on Ireland”.
One of the speakers, Claire Philbin of Mayo Life Network, said Fine Gael declared to the electorate in early 2011 that they were a pro-life party who would not legislate for abortion.
She added: “This promise most certainly contributed to their success in that election, where, for example, in Mayo alone they took four [out of five] seats. The thousands here in Castlebar today are now demanding that Enda Kenny sticks to that pro-life commitment, and rejects the external pressures that are being applied to Ireland to legalise abortion.”
Rebecca Roughneen of Mayo Youth Defence said: “People are engaged on this issue, and they see it as being of crucial importance, and they won’t accept abortion being foisted on Ireland by political committees or a foreign court. This rally reflects the national mood.”
The rally, which began and ended on The Mall, was organised in anticipation of the recommendations from the expert group put together earlier this year as a response to a European Court of Human Rights’ judgment on Ireland’s abortion laws.