What I Saw at the Largest Pro-Life Rally in Irish History this Week


[Kate Bryan has been in Ireland since last weekend and participated in the largest pro-life rally in Irish history. She shares what is happening and her experiences there with our CV audience. – Ed.]

Ireland truly is a light to the world. The foundation of the country is steeped in the teachings of the Catholic Church, and it is one of the last remaining countries in the world to uphold a ban on abortion. But recently the Irish government began moving forward plans to dismantle the protection of the unborn that the Irish Constitution upholds.

The Irish Constitution currently holds a protection for the unborn from the moment of conception, which states,

“The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

The Irish government has introduced an extreme abortion bill that would legalize abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, when a woman’s life is seen as being in danger – including the risk of suicide. The government has decided to ignore the Irish people and instead of giving them a Referendum on abortion, they have decided to legislate on abortion.

Photo credit: Kate Bryan

This past Saturday, I joined over 60,000 people who flooded the streets of Dublin, from all across Ireland, to stand up for life and to call for the protection of the unborn child to be upheld. This rally, organized by Ireland’s preeminent pro-life organizations — Youth Defence, the Life Institute, and Precious Life, was held in response to the Irish government’s recent push for abortion legalization in Ireland and to call on the Prime Minister to give the people a vote.

The experience of being at this rally was like nothing I’ve ever felt or seen. It was powerful, heart-breaking, and absolutely inspiring — all at the same time.

It was amazing to stand in a country that has never been touched by the culture of death or the evil of abortion, yet heart-breaking because now this country is on the verge of abortion being legalized. Yet, instead of people admitting defeat and becoming apathetic, the pro-life movement is more passionate than ever, as they stand up against the vicious attacks on innocent women and their children in the womb.

In January, 30,000 people rallied in front of the government buildings in Dublin to take a stand for life, making it the largest pro-life gathering the country had every seen. Then, last month, the pro-life movement broke the record again on June 8th, when they brought together over 40,000 activists from all over the country to stand up for life. And now, Saturday broke the record again with over 60,000 people in the Dublin City Centre, speaking out on behalf of the most defenseless Irish citizens — the unborn. The Rally for Life on Saturday became the largest pro-life rally Ireland has ever seen.

To put this in perspective, this would be equal to us having 5 million people show up at the March for Life in January, whereas we had just over 500,000 at the March for Life in January 2013.  Ireland is pro-life!

Niamh Ui Bhriain, Director of The Life Institute, addressed the rally saying, “The pro-life ethos of Ireland has made this country the safest place in the world for a woman to carry a baby.” And this is according to the often quite pro-abortion United Nations and the World Health Organization.

She went on, “Article 6 of the Constitution puts these matters in the hands of the people. We demand the right to vote!” Then, the crowd erupted in cheers and began chanting, “Let us vote! Let. Us. Vote!”

“The desire of the Irish people is to love [mother and child]both, to protect them both, and to find a better answer for them both than abortion.” said Ui Bhriain, “Our mothers deserve better. Our babies deserve better. And our country deserves better.”

The Rally also heard from Bernie Smyth of Precious Life, who said, “This is the greatest human rights battle of our day. And it is also the greatest spiritual battle of our day!” She continued, “We must raise up a banner of prayer across the nation. We are a people that will not accept a bill that allows our children to be killed. We must storm heaven at this time. We need a revolution in prayer.”

And Smyth finished by saying, “It’s not over… until we say… it’s over!” And the crowd went wild.

The 60,000 people brought Dublin to a standstill and forced the public to pay attention to the intense battle that Ireland is in the midst of, as they work to keep the unborn child protected under the law.

Dr. Eoghan de Faoite of Youth Defence said the Rally Committee was “absolutely delighted with the huge turnout” and said that “there was huge momentum building to let the people vote on the Bill using Article 27 of the Irish Constitution.”

He exclaimed, “What is Prime Minister Enda Kenny afraid of? Let the people vote!”

The battle for life in Ireland is far from over. The Irish pro-life movement is on fire and they are more passionate and determined than ever to uphold the protection of the unborn child.

The Irish government will continue to debate this abortion legislation over the coming days, and are meant to have a decision on this brutal abortion bill by the end of this week or next.

Please keep Ireland in your prayers, and pray for our Irish pro-life brothers and sisters. Let’s storm heaven for Youth Defence and the pro-life movement in Ireland, and pray that Ireland remains abortion-free – now and forever.

May Ireland continue to be a light to the world!

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org


About Author

Kate Bryan grew up in Michigan, but now resides in Washington, D.C. She holds a B.A. in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville and a Masters degree in Public Affairs and Political Communication from the Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland. Follow her on Twitter at @katembryan.

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