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TD Says Abortion Issue Was A 'Ball And Chain' That Dogged Ireland For Decades


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A TD has described the issue of abortion as 'a ball and chain' that has dogged Ireland for the last 35 years.

Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly said Friday's Yes vote in the referendum on the Eighth Amendment is like a massive weight being lifted from everyone's shoulders.

In an emotional speech in the Dáil this afternoon, she paid tribute to the grassroots campaigners who she credited with bringing about the result.

She described the weekend as a watershed moment for women in Ireland.

She said she was "absolutely in awe" of campaigners and groups who have argued in favour of reforming Ireland's abortion laws over the years.

Deputy Daly had particular praise for one of the co-directors of the Together For Yes campaign, saying: "It was - if I had to name one person more than anyone - it was Ailbhe Smyth.

"Let's be clear here. Ailbhe Smyth is a giant in terms of this movement and has stood there when there was no glory to be had."

She also acknowledged the role of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris - although she did suggest that "it took you a while to get there."

She added: "But you were at the helm and you did steer the ship and history will testify that you delivered. I thank you for that."

However, she described the fight for abortion rights as an uphill battle "pushing a boulder up a hill" that had been fought for decades.

She said: "A lot of people were sitting on the boulder making it even more difficult for those outside who wanted to push for change.

"Then we have the other people of course who once the boulder was on the top of the hill and it was about to go down the other side decided to try to jump ahead even though they hadn't done any of the pushing and try and claim some of the glory."


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