It’s hard to believe it’s been a full year since one of the most controversial referendums in Irish history that split the country into two deeply separate sides of the argument. Repealing the 8th amendment was a huge turning point in our society which many journalists had the opportunity and privilege to cover.
Below are just three of the top media contacts whose opinions and insights will go down in history. Through their dedicated contribution and widespread media coverage, they have helped to alter Ireland’s view of abortion forming this pivotal Irish landmark.
Una Mullally is an award-winning journalist for the Irish Times, contributing columnist for the Guardian as well as author and broadcaster. She, alongside many others, is one journalist who put her heart and soul into the campaign to repeal the 8th amendment. Una showed her dedication to the cause through becoming editor of Repeal the 8th, an anthology describing people’s personal experiences and heart-wrenching stories related to reproductive rights in Ireland. This anthology included everything from poetry and literature to art and design from award-winning novelists, critically acclaimed poets, cutting-edge artists and front-line journalists. Contributors such as comedian and writer Aisling Bea, journalist Caitlin Moran, author Louise O’Neill and many more came together to dedicate time, effort and compassion towards one of the most pressing debates in Irish history in the hopes to inspire thought and invoke change in the traditionalist attitude engrained in Irish society.
Alongside editing the Repeal the 8th anthology, Una won journalist of the year at GALA LGBT in March of 2015 having written an abundance of pieces on feminism, marriage equality and human rights. In addition, she wrote a blogpost for the Irish Times Pop Life covering the case of Savita Halappanavar shortly after its occurrence.
Kitty Holland is social affairs correspondent for the Irish Times and wrote extensively on the repeal the 8th campaign and abortion in general. Having written a piece for The Observer on the subject and contributing to the Repeal the 8th anthology Kitty has certainly dedicated herself towards changing Ireland for the better when making the decision to share her own personal experiences with abortion on the Irish Times’ “The Women’s Podcast”. She used the platform to speak of the guilt and “shame” instilled in her and how it should not be a common occurrence for our country to shun happenings like this, shipping issues across the Irish sea.
As well as speaking out in turmoil of her own traumatic experiences, in 2012 it was Holland who broke the story of Savita Halappanavar. The following Wednesday, Kitty Holland and Paul Cullen covered the story in the Irish Times of the woman who died from severe sepsis due to a miscarriage after being denied an abortion on multiple occasions in Ocotober 2012. Holland’s completion of an audio interview for the Irish Times with Halappanavar’s husband, Praveen, helped pave the way for the repeal campaign. Praveen spoke openly of his hopes for the investigation into Savita’s death to quicken the approval of the legislation ensuring nothing like this would ever happen again. This was the pivotal turning point for the repeal campaign as protests began to take place when the news of Savita spread like wildfire internationally, across Twitter and continued to feature in the news in months to come.
Shona is another journalist who put women front and centre throughout the repeal campaign. She regularly reports on the Middle East while working with Newstalk radio and various print publications accounting the latest European affairs. Her involvement and connection to a variety of different areas in the media gave her the perfect opportunity to write and report a considerable amount on the topic of repeal. Her additional freelance work with the Independent, Radio France International and the Sunday Business Post lent her quality experience ensuring her journalistic skill in the world of media.
Murray wrote multiple articles for the Independent all dedicated to the fundamental rights of women and repealing the 8th amendment. She dedicated a piece to Clare Daly’s reaction to the result of the referendum describing her reminiscence on the long battle women have fought to repeal the 8th amendment. Clare Daly was just one of the many TDs who stood at the forefront of changing Ireland’s laws and perspective on abortion. Alongside this, it had been Murray to whom Simon Coveney revealed his own opposition to the legislative change allowing abortion up to 12 weeks. “Decisions that I make on this will be ones that allow me to sleep at night and not ones that I will judge on the basis of whether they’re popular or not.” His comments on the then upcoming referendum angered many women and organisations around the country who had suffered at the hands of the State.
Shortly after the referendum results were released in May of 2018, Shona wrote an opinion piece on the “young explosion of voters”. Playing the middle-man between publication and society’s thoughts on the matter, she spoke to various members of the public and political analyst Odhran Flynn. Aspects of her opinion piece included the case of Savita Halappanavar, the role of the Catholic church, the trauma our older generations had no choice but to live through and the light our country is choosing to work towards today. Her piece was written in recognition of the flurry of young people who took the time to educate themselves on the topic, the people who took to the streets to change their country for the better, the people who hadn’t lived through the trauma but held awareness of the past horrors that cannot be forgotten.
These three journalists have certainly contributed to the paving of future Irish society as their inspiring opinions will live on in the hearts of generations to come. It has been these strong voices, serving as trailblazers, who had the courage to gather personal accounts, emotional experiences and tell the stories that needed to be heard.
Did you find these journalists interesting and want to learn more about our database? Click here for more information on MediaHQ, or call Gaye on (01) 254 1845.