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Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 23 January, 2019

Pro-choice farmers managed to get #Farmers4Yes trending on Twitter yesterday

Former President of the Irish Farmers’ Association Eddie Downey has also called for a ‘Yes’ vote.

PastedImage-23422 Source: Colm/Twitter

YESTERDAY AFTERNOON, A group of farmers took to Twitter to share photos of themselves and some reasons why they’ll be voting ‘Yes’ on Friday the 25th of May.

Earlier in the week, former President of the Irish Farmers’ Association, Eddie Downey helped to launch the Farmers For Yes campaign. Eddie also participated in the  “In Her Shoes – Hear My Voice” initiative, where he read out the harrowing story of what one parent went through while helping her daughter procure abortion pills.


Eddie read the sobering submission that was sent to In Her Shoes.

My daughter was 23 when she told me she was pregnant. She had been through a very tough time, living with depression, and things had begun to improve. She said she did not want to have a baby. I offered to go to England with her, and pay for an abortion. I don’t know where I would’ve gotten the money from.
She said that she couldn’t take time off work, and that she had contacted a network of women in The North, who would get pills. She would have to collect them in Belfast. I did not like the idea of her taking them without medical supervision but her mind was made up.
Having never been to The North, I was worried about being stopped at the border.

The parent and the daughter in the story had received a call to say that unfortunately the abortion pills had been seized at customs. They were told that the network would try again and call them in a week’s time. When the pills finally arrived, the pair of them called in sick to work and drove up North.

She had been giving the name of a café and been told to ask for a package under a false name. It was like being in a spy movie. We collected the packet, and I was waiting for the hand of the PSNI to fall on my shoulder.

They got home, and this parent made sure that their daughter monitored her temperature closely after she took the abortion pills, and insisted that they would go straight to hospital in the event of an emergency. The daughter said “No way. I would be arrested.”

I wasn’t sure if this was true or not, so I spent the next few days in a state of high anxiety, thinking that she could die or be terrified if I should have to call a doctor if she needed one.
She went back to work after two days. It was too soon.

PastedImage-59768 Source: In Her Shoes - Hear My Voice

At the end of the video, Eddie Downey said that as a father, this was not an easy letter to read.

He said:

I would not like to find myself in this position. But if I was, I would like to know that my daughter could seek the medical attention she would require in this country. From our doctor. That we could care for her here at home. I would want to keep her safe. Saying ‘Yes’ is not a popular thing to say, but life is not black and white.  Women do travel for terminations. Five women a day do it here in Ireland – locked away in bathrooms, without proper care. Without proper medical attention.
It upsets me to think of somebody’s daughter afraid, alone, unsafe, taking medication that they smuggled into the country. Afraid of breaking the law. Afraid to seek help. We can do better. We need to do better. We need to care for our women at home in Ireland.

“We can make them safe. We can repeal the Eighth Amendment. Join me in voting ‘Yes’ on May 25th.”

Farmers on social media began to follow Eddie’s lead.

Colm, from Kildare, shared a photograph of him, his Jack Russell Nina and his father. He said:

We’re proud to be voting yes, and we know Mam is proud of us too. For my sisters. For all Irish women. #RepealThe8th.

Laura, who lives on the west coast, shared a photo of her new window sign.

Michael O’Connell and his dog shared a photo from their farm.

PastedImage-90451 Source: Michael O'Connell/Twitter

A farmer named Ross took a photo with his family, and explained:

Having a daughter has only strengthened my conviction to #VoteYes. I hope she is never in the position where she needs to make a decision, but I would not want her forced through the added trauma of having to travel to Britain.

Dairy farmer and author Lorna Sixsmith said she wants to repeal the Eighth Amendment, so that women can have “the choice, healthcare and compassion that they deserve”.

PastedImage-61154 Source: Lorna Sixsmith/Twitter

She also added that her cows get more compassion than many pregnant women in this country.

Tweet by @Lorna Sixsmith 🐄 Source: Lorna Sixsmith 🐄/Twitter

Francie from Donegal said that “pregnancy is a big issue on the farm, where we see how complicated and dangerous it can be”.

cb34dcfafefa9f5ccd341d50789ba2fc Source: Farmers For Yes/Twitter

Leah from Roscommon has been canvassing the farm animals.


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Kelly Earley

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