Irish immigrants arrive home to vote in their thousands as Ireland makes history, with a once in a lifetime referendum on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.
As the voting on the May 25 referendum, on Ireland’s Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, gets underway #hometovote has been erupting on social media with thousands of Irish from around returning to cast their ballot. From as far away as Asia, Australia, South America, as well as throngs of people from the UK and Europe, the famous Irish diaspora are returning home to vote.
The Eight Amendment, introduced in 1983, grants equal rights to the fetus and the mother. Current law outlaws abortion in all cases, except when the mother’s life is at risk and the restrictions on this are very high. Ireland’s abortion laws are among the strictest in the European Union.
If the Yes vote wins on Friday, the Irish Government have said that abortions would be allowed during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
This 2018 #hometovote movement mirrors the actions during Ireland’s marriage equality referendum in 2015 when similar scenes were recorded. In fact, Ireland’s #hometovote campaign this year has been so successful that the hashtag earned the coveted position on Twitter’s headquarters wall of fame, in San Francisco.
Over the last week #hometovote has been trending as the Irish around the world, who have the right to vote, prepared to fly and take the boat home. However, by the evening of May 24 scenes at Dublin airport were reminiscent of Christmastime as Irish flooded through the arrival gates.
This is just a sample of some of the tweets of people flying in from around the world:
Boarding a 13 hour flight from Buenos Aires to London. London to Dublin tomorrow. No one at airport knows what my repeal jumper means. No one here knows why I'm travelling. If this feels isolating for me, can't imagine how lonely it must be 4 her, travelling 2 the UK #HomeToVote— Ciaran Gaffney (@gaffneyciaran) May 22, 2018
Heatmap of the some of the places in the world people traveled from to come #hometovote ... if this doesn't set you off you're broken and in need of urgent repair. Irish people are a class bunch #legends #TogetherForYes #repealthe8th pic.twitter.com/78j3lzeRaA— Drew Murphy (@drewtmurphy) May 24, 2018
The London contingent were also strongly represented:
Last minute decision to go #hometovote to #repealthe8th No flights left from London, so I have a 4 hour train, 4 hour wait and 3 hour ferry to make it home to vote- which is a walk in the park in comparison to the journey that Irish women are making every day to the UK— Michelle McHugh (@MichelleMarleyy) May 24, 2018
Famous figures also threw their hats into the ring including rugby player Ian Madigan, who is currently playing for Bristol.
Sinn Fein’s leader Mary Lou McDonald retweeted a moving illustration of Irish flooding in with suitcases to vote. The image of dragging suitcases has been referenced heavily over the years of pro-choice campaigning as 11 Irish women, on average, per week travel abroad to access abortions.
New York Irish comedian Des Bishop took to Twitter to offer lifts for anyone home to vote.
Also being used on Twitter was #hometovoteno. The top tweet came from the socially conservative Roman Catholic advocacy group the Iona Institute. It reads:
Many other tweets came from other pro-life groups however so individuals did post of their journeys.
The feeling ahead of the vote seems to be one of pride and anticipation as the global Irish flock to do their civic duty and change Irish law. With the latest polls, in the Sunday Times, showing the Yes vote with a lead of 52% nothing will be certain until the results come through on Saturday. Polls will close on Friday night at 10pm.
My 'drop of golden' son just landed in Cork airport. He is #hometovote and will be voting YES for his sister, YES his mum & YES for a better day for women and a kinder Ireland. Our family all #TogetherForYes #together2vote @CorkTogether4Y pic.twitter.com/fK9Dc7nCi6— Colette Kelleher (@ColetteKelleher) May 24, 2018
My dad sent my sister a text this week saying he will vote on her behalf since she can't get home to vote.— Avril Hayden 🇮🇪🇪🇺 (@AvvyEire) May 24, 2018
Little do either of my parents know I'm sitting in the airport waiting for her flight to arrive. #hometovote #Mna4Ta #Together4Yes #men4yes #Repealthe8th
All the #hometovote celebrating feels like a response to all the silent, secret journeys that went the other way. Whatever the outcome of the referendum, the silence is broken.— Jane Casey (@JaneCaseyAuthor) May 24, 2018