Around 5,000 people have taken part in a ‘Rally for Life’ in Dublin today.
Image by infomatique
As I had not carried out any research in advance I was a bit surprised by this rally as many (if not the majority) of the people that took part were from Northern Ireland or from the Philippines. On the other hand the counter-demonstrators all appeared to be local to Dublin.
To quote the organizers: "The Rally for Life in Dublin city centre was an outstanding success. Precious Life organised buses from all across Northern Ireland to take people to the ‘Rally for Life’. They joined with thousands of other people from all around Ireland, and abroad, gathered at Parnell Square. "
Catholic bishops across the island of Ireland encouraged their flocks to participate in this annual pro-life march.
“Life is our most precious gift,” said Bishop Philip Boyce of the Diocese of Raphoe, calling the rally a “celebration of life.” “To attend or take part in it in any way is a worthwhile endeavour to pursue as Catholics. We stand up for God’s gift of life.”
Ireland, both north and south, is one of the last remaining places in Europe where abortion is still illegal. However, according to the organisers, "the country’s pro-life laws are under assault from pro-abortion campaigners in Ireland, the UK, European Union, and United Nations".
The colour and the enthusiasm of the marchers grabbed the attention of Dublin shoppers on a busy Saturday afternoon. Streets were closed to traffic so as to accommodate the large crowd and the rally participants enjoyed themselves dancing and singing as they travelled from Parnell Square to Kildare Street. At the end of the march they were addressed by pro-life speakers including the Director and founder of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth.
As they made their way their way along O’Connell Street they encountered a counter-demonstration chanting "Don’t put your rosaries on our ovaries". Some counter-protesters referred to the marchers as bin the "Irish Taliban".
In general the event was good humored but there were some strong heated verbal exchanges that required intervention by the police.