Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘X Case’ Category

Ireland’s abortion standoff – Al Jazeera Coverage

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Ireland’s abortion standoff

A link to Al Jazeera’s coverage is here :

Written by tomasoflatharta

Nov 21, 2012 at 12:13 am

Labour and Fine Gael Must Legislate for the X Case – Gather at the Dáil on November 28, 6pm

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Praveen Halappanavar, husband of Savita Speaks – he has little confidence in the Health Services Executive Inquiry established by the Irish State and encourages public mass activity :

Mr Halappanavar also said there were five members of medical staff, as well as a family friend, present in the room with him and Savita when they were told on Tuesday, October 23rd that she could not have a termination of the pregnancy she was miscarrying because “this is a Catholic country”.

Mr Halappanavar also said he believed no inquiry would have been established if his wife’s death had not been brought to public attention.

“I was in India for nearly two weeks and I never heard from the hospital . . . So I had to see people became aware . . . I don’t think there would be any inquiry if there was not the public pressure. I think there would have been an inquest and no one would have known this happened. It is a pity because I thought Ireland would care more for someone so young who died. That let me down. I was not happy about that.”

Asked whether Ms Halappanavar’s parents would come to Ireland for the inquiry or inquest, he said if her father was not “convinced with the investigation” he was “very keen to come over”.

“The law has to change. Maybe Savita was born to change the laws here.”

North Kildare Deputy Catherine Murphy makes a telling point about Dáil Votes; discussing the Sinn Féin Private Members’ Motion tabled for decision on Wednesday November 21, Murphy observes :

Catherine Murphy, Chief Whip of the Technical Group, said she would support the motion but expected the response of her colleagues in the group would be “mixed”, with more left-wing members backing the motion while others would not do so.

She added: “It’s not a Private Members’ Motion that we actually require, it’s legislation. I’m disappointed the Minister for Health is talking about it being next year before action is taken.It does look like being some considerable distance down the road. I don’t want it pushed along so that the heat is taken out of the situation: the same set of circumstances could apply to some other woman in the future.”

Written by tomasoflatharta

Nov 20, 2012 at 1:16 am

An Irish Rising Day, November 17 2012 – “The great only appear great because we are on our knees. Let us rise!” – Jim Larkin

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The foundations of the right-wing Fine Gael / Labour Coalition are shaking, trembling, and rocking from side to side :

If it falls, good riddance

“Today a statue of “Big Jim” stands on O’Connell Street in Dublin. The inscription on the front of the monument is an extract in French, Irish and English from one of his famous speeches:

Les grands ne sont grands que parce que nous sommes à genoux: Levons-nous.
Ní uasal aon uasal ach sinne bheith íseal: Éirímis.
The great appear great because we are on our knees: Let us rise.

The slogan, first used on the 18th century French radical paper Révolutions de Paris,[14] also appeared on the masthead of the Workers’ Republic, founded by James Connolly in Dublin in August, 1898. Originally the organ of the Irish Socialist Republican Party, this periodical later became the official organ of the Communist Party of Ireland, which was founded in 1921. The original slogan is usually attributed to Camille Desmoulins (1760–1794), the French revolutionary”

 Today :

Mass protest is the only way to win change on abortion

The November 17 Never Again Dublin Demonstration got huge media coverage in Ireland and abroad.

The Irish Times Reported :

It was headed by a giant banner which read “Never Again”, adorned with images of the 31-year-old Indian dentist.

Organisers of the Dublin march said about 20,000 people had turned out, but a Garda spokeswoman said they estimated the figure to be between 10,000 and 12,000.

Clare Daly TD spoke powerfully :

See also this statement from the ULA TD’s Clare Daly and Joan Collins  :

Labour and Fine Gael bear responsibility for death of woman who was denied abortion

The crisis is triggered by 7 governments’ refusals to act on the 20-year-old 1992 Supreme Court X Case Abortion Judgment

The crisis is caused by the  preventable death of Savita Halappanavar – 20 TD’s voted for Clare Daly TD’s Bill to implement the X Case Judgment – 111 Members of the Leinster House Parliament – mainly Fine Gael and Labour Government Deputies – voted against – Read the rest of this entry »

Global Coverage of Savita Halappanavar’s Avoidable Death in an Irish Galway Hospital

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“As the news of Halappanavar’s death was reported via newspaper front pages on Tonight With Vincent Browne on TV3, and across Twitter on Tuesday night, reactions almost uniform in their sadness, anger and outrage turned to organising demonstrations both in memory of Halappanavar and against the delay in legislating on the ‘X Case’, which international readers can learn about here. By Wednesday evening, protests had already taken place in Ireland, and Halappanavar’s death and the surrounding issues were being covered internationally.”


The Right to Die With Dignity – Is Ireland on the Brink of a New X Case?

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Ireland’s legislators have delayed taking action on the infamous X Case for more than twenty years.

In 1992 the State tried to prevent the parents of a raped suicidal pregnant 14 year old girl bringing their daughter to England for an abortion.

In 2011 the State prevented Bernadette Forde, who was suffering from a horrible disease – Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) – that was getting worse all the time – from visiting the Dignitas Clinic in Switzerland in order to end her own life.  The Gardaí intervened, threatening legal action against Bernadette and other people who might be helping her.

Shortly afterwards Bernadette took her own life in Ireland.

A file is now with the Director of Public prosecutions.

The 2011 General Election saw Ireland swinging to the left on such matters – Clare Daly TD, with the support of other Leinster House colleagues, took legislative “Action on X”, and this struggle will continue :

Similar establishment inertia surrounds the “Right to Die” issue, and Ireland could experience a political crisis similar to the X Case unless legislative action is taken.

Bernadette Forde’s story – “Forbidden to Leave”  was published in the Sunday Business Post on April 15 2012 : Read the rest of this entry »

Written by tomasoflatharta

May 9, 2012 at 9:02 am

X Case on the Political Agenda

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“Anyway, enormous thanks are owed to the TDs who put this together. The fact that they forced a debate on the issue is a major achievement.” –
Stephanie Lord.
That is the key factor for activists. The Dáil debate was supported by Action on X, which mobilised support outside Leinster House and brought the issue to public attention. We can rely only on ourselves, the politics of mass mobilisation – and work harmoniously with the TD’s who introduced the bill – more power to them all.

Plus Plus Plus to Ming Flanagan – as pointed out by EamonnCork on the Cedar Lounge discussion “By the way Ming Flanagan’s vote in favour of the bill perhaps gives the lie to people on here who persistently characterise him as some kind of rural conservative in disguise” –

The Cedar Lounge Revolution

It almost seems petty to consider who voted and who didn’t on the Abortion Bill this week. But, it’s an exercise with some utility.

First up, consider that ten of the Technical Group, and four of the ULA (out of five), voted for the Bill. Nine of SF’s 14 voted (though Pearse Doherty was at the funeral of his father). Patrick Nulty, who appears to be becoming a one man tribune of a strand of Labour thinking that has now all but vanished also voted for it. I can’t divine any great rural/urban divide in SF, or pro-choice/anti-abortion divide either. TDs who might seem to fit in either camps voted for the Bill.

Of the Technical Group, Stephen Donnelly voted for the Bill, and that great social liberal, Shane Ross? And what of Thomas Pringle? Finian McGrath was missing in action too, as was Tom Fleming – perhaps less unexpectedly.

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United Left Alliance Galway and X Case – Public Meeting 7th March, 2012

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From the ULA/Galway…(via The Cedar Lounge Revolution)

ULA Galway to hold public information meeting to mark 20th anniversary of the X Case and to highlight legislation campaign

The Galway branch of the United Left Alliance will hold a public meeting to mark the twentieth anniversary of the X Case and to publicise the Medical Treatment Bill 2012, which will give legislative effect to the ruling made by the Supreme Court in the case.

The public meeting will take place this Wednesday (7th March) at 7:30pm in the Kirwan Lecture Theatre in NUI Galway.

Wednesday marks the twentieth anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling, which held that a woman, whose life was endangered by a pregnancy, could legally avail of an abortion in Ireland. The meeting will also coincide with International Women’s Day.

The ULA TDs and some of the Dáil technical group TDs have brought forward the Medical Treatment (Termination Of Pregnancy In Case Of Risk To Life Of Pregnant Woman) Bill 2012 in order to provide a legislative basis for the legal termination of a pregnancy in the very limited circumstances where such treatment is deemed necessary to prevent a woman’s death, including the threat of suicide. This was the outcome of the Supreme Court judgment in Attorney General v. X in 1992.

The public meeting will hear from three distinguished speakers, and will be chaired by local activist and ULA chairperson Dette McLoughlin.
Dr. Niamh Reilly, who is a senior lecturer at NUI Galway and a co-director of the University’s Global Women’s Studies programme will speak about the political, legal and social contexts that led to the X Case.

Midwife and activist Mary Smith has worked as a nurse with Dublin’s Well Woman Centre and as a research office with the crisis pregnancy agency and will highlight the experiences of women who have affected by the lack of legislation and clarity with regard to lifesaving abortion.

Therese Caherty is co-convenor of the Open Feminist Forum and a member of the Action on X campaign group. She will discuss the Bill and its provisions, as well as the political process that will be required to see it become law.

The meeting will end with a question and answer session,

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Galway ULA chairperson Dette McLoughlin asked “why has this Supreme Court ruling been ignored? The electorate has twice urged the Government through referendums to act on the reality of crisis pregnancy and relate this judgment into law. We have had six successive Governments and yet shamefully we still do not have legislation in place. It appears that the vast majority of elected representatives choose to ignore the will of the people rather than speak out for legislation.”

“The most basic level of reproductive rights is still being denied to women in Ireland. Twenty years on, despite women having the right to an abortion in Ireland in limited circumstances, the State has failed to give legislative effect to the Supreme Court ruling. This means that all women living in Ireland who need to terminate a pregnancy are forced to travel abroad to access this medical procedure.”

“This has gone on long enough.”

The “X” case involved a 14-year old girl who had become pregnant by rape. The girl, known as “X”, was barred from travelling abroad for an abortion. Amidst anger at the court’s injunction and sympathy for the girl’s situation, the case convulsed the citizens of Ireland. The Supreme Court subsequently ruled that abortion was legal where there was a “real and substantial risk to the life” of a pregnant woman, including suicide.

Over 60 organisations and individuals – including several TDs, trade unions, and doctors, have called for immediate legislation in line with the ‘X’ case.

“This bill is in line with the constitution, with the 1992 Supreme Court ruling and with the wishes of the people as expressed in two referendums. If passed it would represent an historic step forward for women, and for the country as a whole. There is no excuse for Government or opposition TDs to oppose this Bill. We must put pressure on politicians to support this bill. We cannot allow them to play the coward with this vitally important issue. Come along on Wednesday and add your voice to the campaign.

For more information visit or find ULA Galway on Facebook.

Written by tomasoflatharta

Mar 5, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Action on ‘X’ Public Meeting Gresham Hotel, Tuesday 21 February, 7.30pm; Broad Support for Dáil Legislation

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Action on X

The Irish Times Reports :

A PRIVATE Members’ Bill which would provide for limited access to abortion will be introduced in the Dáil next week.

The Bill, to make abortion legal where there is a “real and substantial risk to the life” of the pregnant woman, will be introduced by Socialist Party TD Clare Daly in private members’ time and will be voted on in the House on April 19th.

Over 60 organisations and individuals, including seven TDs, two Senators, trade unions, academics and doctors have called for “immediate legislation in line with the ‘X’ case”.

More Here :

There is an impressive media round-up here :

Action on X After 20 Years

Public Meeting on February 21 Read the rest of this entry »

Written by tomasoflatharta

Feb 18, 2012 at 10:47 am

Action on ‘X’ Public Meeting in Gresham Hotel on Tuesday 21st February at 7.30pm

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Action on X

Public Meeting on February 21

Speakers include:
Vincent Browne, Journalist and Broadcaster
Anthea McTeirnan, Journalist and Reproductive Rights Activist
Dr Fiona De Londras, UCD School of Law
Mick Wallace, Independent TD for Wexford
Ailbhe Smyth, Feminist Open Forum

In the meantime Eamonn McCann has written a good article on this subject for the Belfast Telegraph :

 X’ marks spot for changes to anti-woman irrationality

He captures the spirit of those days well

As concern for the girl and outrage against her ‘internment’ grew, and demonstrations began outside embassies and consulates in Europe and the US, the case was hustled into the Supreme Court in record time.

The former diplomat Eamon Delaney, now a journalist in Dublin, has described younger staff members at the New York consulate photocopying leaflets for demonstrators outside who were running short of supplies.

Read the entire article here :

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Feb 10, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Time to legislate for life-saving abortion – 20th Anniversary of the Infamous X Case, February 1992

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Time to legislate for life-saving abortion

By Therese Caherty
Today – February 6 2012 –  marks the date in 1992 when the parents of a pregnant 14-year-old took their daughter to England for an abortion. She had been raped by a friend of the family. That same day in the High Court, Mr Justice Declan Costello issued a temporary injunction to prevent the abortion. Only hours after they had left, the family returned to Ireland. This became known as the X Case.
Now finally, in 2012, a group of TDs including Joan Collins, Clare Daly and Mick Wallace are preparing to force the Coalition Government to introduce legislation on life-saving abortions. This move is to be welcomed and supported.

Irish State Tries to Intern a 14 Year Old Raped Suicidal Girl Seeking An Abortion

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