Feminist unfinished business - 1916-2016 - 10 demands to begin righting Ireland's wrongs


With historic working class centenaries occurring in recent years we have heard a lot about Unfinished Business. This message was strong in 2013 in reference to the 1913 Lockout and the inequality that still prevails in Ireland. Cries of Unfinished Business are once again being proclaimed in this centenary year of the 1916 Rising and it is true, we do have unfinished business.

We still have bosses and businessmen who could give William Martin Murphy a run for his money. The Republic that the rebels envisioned and enshrined in the proclamation has not been achieved and despite the rhetoric of the YES campaign we do not “cherish the children of the nation equally”, and we have a long way to go to get there, with particular work needed on Ireland’s hatred of women.

So, on this year’s International Women’s Day we say we have Feminist Unfinished Business and so, we demand:

(1) The Repeal of the 8th Amendment and Full Reproductive Freedom. This means Free, Safe and Legal Abortion on Demand, as early as possible and as late as necessary. It means that whatever support is needed for those who choose to continue with a pregnancy is given. It means consent and consultation during pregnancy and childbirth.

(2) Justice for those who have suffered at the hands of Catholic Ireland, from the victims of the Magdalene Laundries to the victims of Symphysiotomy.

(3) The complete and permanent dismantling of Capitalism and the full distribution of wealth so that poverty, corruption and greed are condemned to the history books.
(4) An end to Violence Against Women and the culture that normalizes, excuses and reinforces it.

(5) The decriminalization of Sex Work and the recognition of it as work.

(6) That all are free to express their sexuality, straight, queer, asexual and everything in between, without fear.

(7) That all are free to express their gender identity, cis, trans, and everything in between, without fear.

(8) An end to Direct Provision and the tearing down of the borders.

(9) A society that is community–orientated, in which decision making lies with those who lives will be affected, in which all are empowered to question, to think critically and to live co-operatively and in peace.

(10) The destruction of all forms of oppression and oppressive power structures through intersectional means.

These demands are not to be cherry picked to fit in with a liberal agenda. Those who are currently fighting for an end to oppression, be it in Rojava, Palestine or elsewhere, know too well that the solution does not lie in liberal feminism.

Feminism must be a threat to things as they stand, if not what’s the point? Seeking to take our current structures and establishments and “make them feminist” will not make our society more equal, it will only make the gender balance of those doing the oppressing more equal.

While these 10 demands do not sufficiently lay out the changes that we are trying to make this writer hopes that they help to lay the foundations.

WORDS: Fionnghuala Nic Roibeaird

This piece is for the 13 who will leave this island today to receive the healthcare that this government refuses them. It is for all those who have fallen victim to state sponsored misogyny. For those who fight for another world.