The Week on Twitter | Citizens’ Assembly, National Maternity Hospital, & Theresa May

This week, Theresa May called a snap election, the Sisters of Charity are being given a maternity hospital, and the #WeAreIrish hashtag celebrated diversity in Ireland. The Citizens’ Assembly also voted in favour of changing Ireland’s abortion laws, but to replace the 8th amendment with something else.

Department of Health to give new national #maternityhospital to nuns

On Tuesday it was reported that the new national maternity hospital was to be given to the Sisters of Charity, a religious group who have failed to pay the entirety of their contribution to a redress scheme for those affected by church abuse. Ownership of the maternity hospital, which is set to move from Holles street to Elm Park, is to be given to the Sisters of Charity once construction is finished. Minister for Health Simon Harris has stated that the group will not benefit financially from ownership of the hospital.

The decision received much criticism from, well, just about everybody really. To most, it was illogical that the state would even consider affiliating a maternity hospital with a group who were directly involved with the management of the Magdalene Laundries, and who still owe €3 million to church abuse survivors. To others, the church’s continued influence and control over women and children in Ireland was not a surprising development, but one that still warranted frustration and anger, and one that needed to be fixed.

Following the report, over 50,000 people signed a petition to block the Sisters of Charity from becoming sole owners of the new hospital. Protests have been taking place throughout the week, with hundreds turning out to demand the decision be reconsidered.

On Friday, chairman of St. Vincent’s Healthcare group Jimmy Menton said that the status of the new hospital was to be reviewed due to the recent “controversy and misinformation” surrounding the situation.

#CitizensAssembly votes to change Ireland’s abortion laws, and to replace, not #repealthe8th

On Saturday, the Citizens’ Assembly voted in favour of changing Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws. 87 members of the assembly decided that the current wording of the 8th amendment was not acceptable, and that it should not be retained in the constitution.

However, progress was stilted when the results of the assembly’s second ballot revealed that 50 people had voted in favour of replacing the 8th amendment with something else, instead of removing it. A full repeal of the 8th would mean that abortion and women’s bodies would no longer have a place in the Irish constitution, and that the decision to have or to not have an abortion would be a personal choice – one that would be legislated for accordingly.

Following the results of the second ballot, users took to Twitter to express their disappointment. However, it remains to be seen exactly what will be included in the final recommendation the assembly plan to make to the government.

#TheresaMay announces snap election

This week, UK prime minister Theresa May announced that there would be a general election held in June, despite previously stating that she would definitely not announce a general election any time soon. The announcement came as May said that a snap election was necessary to “make a success of Brexit.”

Of the decision, May said that the UK is uniting, but “Westminster is not.” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the announcement, stating that the interests of the majority needed to be adhered to.

Following the news, many took to Twitter to critique May’s decision, discuss potential election outcomes, and share some Corbyn memes.

Ireland’s diversity celebrated in #WeAreIrish tag

This week, diversity in Ireland was celebrated as Twitter users took to the #WeAreIrish hashtag to show that there wasn’t one specific way to be ‘Irish.’

The tag was started by Irish writer Una Kavanagh, who was tired of being discriminated against in her home because of the colour of her skin. She used Twitter to assemble a collage of faces that didn’t look “stereotypically Irish” and shared them under the hashtag to show that “#WeAreIrish. We are diverse. We are proud.”

Kavanagh said she started the project because she was sick of people asking where she was “really from.” Speaking to the Daily Edge, she said that “being Irish means not being defined by how I look and it means being accepted. It’s an uphill struggle that so many of us face.”

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