Repealing the 8th amendment 'top of agenda' for National Women's Council

The group says it is going to hold regional conversations across the country

Repealing the 8th amendment 'top of agenda' for National Women's Council

Orla O'Conner of the National Women's Council (NWCI) in Buswell Hotel, Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

The National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) say repealing the 8th amendment is now top of its agenda.

It is launching its strategic plan, 'Driving Women's Equality', as part of its AGM.

The group says following widespread consultation with members, a core focus over the course of its new four year plan will be repealing the 8th amendment to the Constitution.

It says this needs to be replaced with legislation "to ensure women have proper access to reproductive health services".

The organisation's director, Orla O'Connor also announced the NWCI would hold regional conversations with women and men across the country - particularly rural members - to move the discussion to communities and open up debate.

"In order to drive women's equality over the next four years, repealing the 8th amendment must be top of our feminist agenda", Ms O'Connor said.

One-in-five experiencing domestic violence

"There is passionate engagement from all demographics across Ireland, but as we saw with marriage equality, in order to turn popular engagement into political change, we need to take our conversations to local towns and communities in Ireland.

"12 women a day travel from Ireland to access reproductive healthcare abroad; we need to say that this is no longer acceptable, that we must care for women in this country.

"The time for incremental change is gone. To repeal the 8th amendment, we need to take national politics to a local level, to make the political stories personal, and to appeal to Ireland to vote to repeal the 8th amendment, and ensure through legislation that women have access to a wide range of reproductive services, including abortion."

The NWCI also says one-in-five women here are still experiencing domestic and sexual violence - and the gender pay gap stands at 14.4%.

MS O'Connor added: "The Ireland of 2016 is still a long way to for women's equality.

"Fighting for a Scandinavian model of childcare, addressing the extent of the problem of violence against women and calling for an end to low pay and precarious contracts will all be key priorities of NWCI in driving women’s equality over the next four years."