28 March 2018
USI Welcomes May Referendum Date
The Union of Students in Ireland has welcomed the confirmation of 25th May as the day for the referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment to Bunreacht na hÉireann.
The confirmation of the date will come as a relief to student leaders and activists across Ireland, who feared that efforts were being made to frustrate the process and lead to a referendum date outside of term time, when many students would be unavailable to vote due to J1 visa commitments as well as the timing of state examinations.
USI President Michael Kerrigan welcomed the news, saying:
“Student activists of all political views and all positions on the subject of the referendum will be happy that their voices will be heard on this defining issue of our time. There was certainly a push to prevent students being able to express their strongly held views on the 8th Amendment.
Every campus in the country which has asked its students by way of referendum has had overwhelming responses to call for a repeal of this amendment. The student movement has historically led the discussion on reproductive rights and healthcare in this country, and we will ensure student voices are at ballot boxes on May 25th.”
Mr Kerrigan added,
“No one under the age of 53 has had the opportunity to vote on this issue, and arguably it affects our future generations more than any other. UK Department of Health statistics show that over a quarter of those giving Irish addresses with their services are women between 18-24 years of age.
USI will campaign for repeal of the 8th amendment in line with the expressed views of students across Ireland and our long history of opposition to Ireland’s ban on a woman’s right to choose – and we’ll be redoubling our effort to have students registered and voting on May 25th”
USI’s national campaign calling for a Repeal of the Eighth Amendment, ‘Students for Choice’ will launch on Tuesday 3 April at 12 noon, on the first day of USI’s Annual Congress in the Shearwater Hotel, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.
For comment please contact:
Michael Kerrigan – President
087 691 1515
- USI is the national representative body for the 374,000 students in third level education on the Island of Ireland. USI works to improve and protect the lives of students every day on academic and social issues through campaigns, training and research.
- USI addressed the Citizens’ Assembly on March 5th 2017 calling for a repeal of the Eighth Amendment and the introduction of free, safe and legal abortion services in Ireland.
- USI is a pro-choice organisation and represents 374,000 students across the island of Ireland and a member of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment
- USI is a leading platform member of the civil society led Together For Yes Campaign
- Figures show that between January 1980 and December 2015, at least 166,951 women and girls travelled from the Republic of Ireland to access abortion services in another country.
In 2015, 3,451 women and girls in Ireland, or just over nine per day, travelled to the UK to access abortion services. 187 of these women who travelled were aged between 18-19, while 832 of these women were aged between 20-24.