Statement on Prime Minister Theresa May’s meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny

London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign calls on Theresa May to speak out against Ireland’s human rights abuses against women

Prime Minister Theresa May arrived in Ireland yesterday (30th January 2017) to meet with Taoiseach Enda Kenny to discuss “issues of mutual concern and how we are going to work together to protect the interests of all our citizens on these islands.”

Sadly, the ongoing shipment of 77 (1) women from the island of Ireland to Britain for abortion each week did not appear on their agenda, which was dominated by the upcoming election in Northern Ireland, the UK/Ireland Joint Work Programme and issues relating to Brexit.

Theresa May visited Dublin to meet Enda Kenny after a summit on Brexit in Cardiff

With Brexit looming, we are heading towards an unknown future regarding travel and visas between Ireland and Britain so it is imperative that this issue is no longer brushed under the carpet. As England, Scotland and Wales are already taking an active role in Irish and Northern Irish women’s healthcare, it is important that Theresa May speaks directly and frankly with Enda Kenny about this.

Yesterday’s meeting provided a unique opportunity for Mrs May to question what the Irish government is doing to rectify the continuing violation of women’s human rights (2), including violations of the right to be free from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment as found by the UN in the case of Amanda Mellet last June. Fresh from trips to Turkey and the US over the past few days, Mrs May has voiced her opinion on human rights issues and potential abuses.

Unfortunately this important women’s issue and the government’s flagrant disregard for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) was not raised during the joint press conference held after their meeting.

This meeting comes in the wake of the women’s march, where over 5 million people worldwide took to the streets to defend women’s rights, including reproductive rights. We are bitterly disappointed that the exiled Irish and Northern Irish residents have been disregarded by Enda Kenny and Theresa May, sending a clear message that they do not view women’s rights as human rights.

Unfortunately this important women’s issue and the government’s flagrant disregard for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) was not raised during the joint press conference held after their meeting.

This meeting comes in the wake of the women’s march, where over 5 million people worldwide took to the streets to defend women’s rights, including reproductive rights. We are bitterly disappointed that the exiled Irish and Northern Irish residents have been disregarded by Enda Kenny and Theresa May, sending a clear message that they do not view women’s rights as human rights.

Written by Líadan O’Connor

Notes for Editors:

Media spokespersons: Contact Sarah Murphy on 07515 100679, James Doyle on 07576499830 or Hannah Little on 07761757765 — or via email londonirisharc@gmail.com

To be added to our press list please email londonirisharc@gmail.com or contact us via social media at @LdnIrishARC or www.facebook.com/londonirishARC

What is the Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC)?

The Abortion Rights Campaign is a movement for choice and change in Ireland. We aim to promote broad national support for a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution by the Irish Parliament; to push for the decriminalisation of abortion by the Northern Ireland Assembly; and to ensure the health and rights of women in pregnancy are protected in line with international human rights standards. — See more at: http://www.abortionrightscampaign.ie/about-arc/#sthash.puJwbg7J.dpuf

What is London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign?

We are the London based branch of ARC, representing the Irish diaspora in London. We launched in September 2016, with a march to the Irish embassy to represent the 77 women a week who travel to England from Ireland for abortions. We are now 600 strong — and have the support of numerous other networks including The Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment and the Repeal Project.

(1)https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/570040/Updated_Abortion_Statistics_2015.pdf

(2) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/09/ireland-abortion-laws-violated-human-rights-says-un