Updated: 22/05/18 : 13:24:06
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'Together for Yes' campaigners gathered at Knock Airport

On Sunday last women and men gathered at Knock Airport in solidarity with the women who travel to the UK for termination of pregnancy.

In 2016, 29 women from Sligo and 38 women from Mayo travelled to the UK to access abortion care that they could not receive here at home in Ireland.  172 women travelled from Sligo from 2012 – 2016. Many of these women would have begun their journey at Knock Airport.

The demonstration on Sunday began with the women and men walking from the airport roundabout to the terminal with suitcases and displaying 29 pairs of shoes outside the airport to represent the women who travelled from Sligo in 2016.

Spokesperson for Sligo Together For Yes, Lorri Kelly said “As the referendum approaches on 25th May 2018 it is really important that we acknowledge that these are real women and real situations that we cannot ignore any longer. We simply cannot just pretend that abortion is not happening in Ireland just because we force women to travel to the UK. These are the women of Ireland, these are our sisters, daughters, partners, friends, colleagues, neighbours, etc and we should be providing them with the care they need here at home with the support of their friends and family.

It is really important to note that these figures only represent those who can ‘afford’ to travel. We also know that on average three women a day order the abortion pills online and take these without any medical supervision at home alone. This is not acceptable from a caring and compassionate society in the 21st century.  I am genuinely mystified why people would vote against safe and legal healthcare for the women they love and trust. “

                                 Yes campaigners at Knock International Airport

Helena Hannon volunteer with Sligo Together For Yes expressed “Usually for me a trip to Knock Airport means a holiday. On Sunday, the shadow of those 29 Sligo women who travelled in 2016 reminded me that for thousands since that airport opened, a trip can mean that our country has turned its back on them. The 29 shoes laid out could easily get lost in the crowd. I couldn’t help thinking of all the times I’ve been in that airport, our women lost in the crowd around me, alone.”

 Lorri continued “I think before people vote on Friday they should look at the women in their lives, and ask themselves ‘If that woman/girl needed my help tomorrow  to access abortion care, how would I respond?’ and then think of how their vote will impact on the help and support they can offer.  I do not think that by forcing a woman to travel to another country in a time of need or crisis is supportive or helpful. Unfortunately because of the 8th Amendment this is the only option women have. However we do have an opportunity to change this. We have a chance now on Friday 25th May 2018 to show our compassion and to vote YES to say to the women of Ireland who need our support and care that they can receive it here at home because of the changes we voted for.”


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