A Morning In The Life Of The Irish Constitution #Repealedthe8th

A Morning In The Life of the Irish Constitution #repealedthe8th

It’s early. Sun streams through buckled Venetian blinds straight out of the 1970s, filmed with dust and marked with thumb smudges.

A door creaks open slowly, revealing three young women in black jumpers, carrying a tray of sausages. There’s no denying that they’re beautiful. There’s an exuberance about them; a freshness, a newborn confidence. Any signs of a protracted and sometimes desperate battle are buried deep beneath a hopeful skin.

Bunreacht na hÉireann (The Irish Constitution) wakes up and rubs bleary eyes.

Young Irish Women: Good morning lovely! Big day today!

Bunreacht na hÉireann: [sitting up in bed] Wha’? What day is it today?

Young Irish Women: We brought you breakfast.

Bunreacht na hÉireann: But – what big day?

Young Irish Woman 1: [yanking bockety blinds off the window] Are you hungry? Have a sausage. Our Mams cooked them especially for you.

Young Irish Woman 3: We’ve Taytos too.

Young Irish Woman 2: And a cup of tea. Dad made that.

Bunreacht na hÉireann: Is it Barrys Tea?

Young Irish Woman 2: Of course.

Young Irish Woman 3: We have Lyons as well, though.

Young Irish Woman 1: Because we wanted you to have a choice, like.

Bunreacht na hÉireann: Wow, thank you. I’ll have a [*redacted for balance*]

Bunreacht na hÉireann slurps and eats happily, beginning to feel better.

It feels like it has a massive hangover, but can’t remember why. Looking down, it sees red weals on its wrists, as though it’s been tightly shackled for some time.

Bunreacht na hÉireann: So what’s the occasion?

Young Irish Woman 3: The result is in. Of the referendum.

Bunreacht na hÉireann: What referendum?

A Morning In The Life of the Irish Constitution #repealedthe8th

Young Irish Woman 2: [peering curiously at Bunreacht na hÉireann] The referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment. Don’t you remember?

Bunreacht na hÉireann: It’s a strange thing, but I don’t. Having said that, I do feel like I’ve been forgetting something. For about 35 years.

Young Irish Woman 1: That would explain a lot.

Young Irish Woman 2: But we don’t blame you. It wasn’t your fault.

Bunreacht na hÉireann: What wasn’t my fault?

Young Irish Woman 3: How it’s been for women around here for a while.

Young Irish Woman 1: Yeah. The fact that the 8th Amendment meant that we had no rights.

Bunreacht na hÉireann: [stopping mid-chew to look guiltily at its half-eaten sausage] One of my amendments meant you had no rights?

Young Irish Woman 2: Well, not no rights. Just fewer rights. Fewer than other people, like.

Young Irish Woman 3: Like men. Or foetuses.

Young Irish Woman 1: Yeah. Just fewer rights than everyone else.

Bunreacht na hÉireann: Jaysus. Sorry about that, girls.

Young Irish Woman 3: Ah, it’s all right. That bit’s fixed now. We’re all a bit shocked, but apparently a landslide majority of Irish citizens believe that women are people too.

Young Irish Woman 2: And that we should be able to make decisions about our own lives and bodies.

Young Irish Woman 1: Oh, and Mam sent this for you. [holds up a comically gigantic jar of Sudocrem]

Young Irish Woman 2: To soothe your wrists. Although you’re a bit scarred in other places too.

Young Irish Woman 3: You know, from bonkers ideas about women in the 1930s, or bullshit amendments which had no place being attached to you. That sort of thing.

Young Irish Woman 1: So we’re here now, to fix you up and make you look the way you were supposed to when you were born, back in 1937.

Young Irish Woman 2: Except maybe for the bonkers ideas about women. We might have a bit of work to do there yet.

Bunreacht na hÉireann: [smiling through tears] You’re too good to me. After all you’ve been through.

Young Irish Woman 2: Ah, we’re only the face of it.

Young Irish Woman 3: Yeah. We only got here because of others.

Young Irish Woman 1: Our husbands, mothers, fathers and brothers.

Young Irish Woman 3: Our partners, uncles, aunts and grandparents.

Young Irish Woman 2: Women who couldn’t speak out.

Young Irish Woman 1: Sisters who did, no matter what it cost them.

Bunreacht na hÉireann: Feck it now, I’ve a fierce lump in my throat. But do you know what? I’ll take another sausage.

Young Irish Women: You can have all the sausages you want. Like we said, you’ve a big day ahead. And once we’ve you fed and spruced up, we’re taking you out for some fresh air. It’s going to be one hell of a Gathering.

A Morning In The Life of the Irish Constitution #repealedthe8th

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  19 comments for “A Morning In The Life Of The Irish Constitution #Repealedthe8th

  1. May 26, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    When I wrote my first novel, I learned so much that I’d rather not have known about life as it had to be lived under Irish politics, that it was a relief to think that I lived where I could move on from that, once the book was finished. But like the scars on Bunreacht na hÉireann, that trauma takes a long time to heal, and some of the marks itched so, I knew I’d be going back there to scratch them in another book or two…. Congratulations. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 26, 2018 at 6:23 pm

      Thank you, Christine, for your support and such kind words. It’s been a dark few centuries in Ireland for women, really… this feels like the start of something SO much brighter. I look forward to seeing what you’ll be writing about.

      Like

  2. May 26, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    Apparently, my grandparents used to smuggle contraceptives in for my parents on visits to Ireland from London – some must have failed, for here I am!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 26, 2018 at 8:53 pm

      What if they just made their choice when the time was right, Lucinda! Let’s say it was so. I did hear a story that anyone who had relatives from the UK used to get condoms for a wedding present in the 60s and 70s 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. May 26, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    I’m thrilled with the result. we once stayed in a hotel in Richmond where there was a bevy of beautiful young French girls. My Ex had his tongue hanging down to his knees until he discovered they had travelled across the Channel for abortions. Thrilled with the result though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. May 26, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    It’s a wonderful result for Irish women, and a great post, Tara 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. May 27, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Sorry… just emerging from the party! Big sesh going on all over Ireland last night! A step in the right direction, but as you say, more work to do yet. Of course my county had the highest no’s… no surprise there! 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 27, 2018 at 4:58 pm

      Big sesh is right! Mine went on til the wee small hours 😀 😀 😀

      And don’t mind the media focus on the No’s, Ali. They can’t stop themselves pointing the finger at SOMEPLACE, no matter what way the majority voted! Seems a bit immature to me, quite frankly. Nobody else is thinking about it!!

      Like

      • May 27, 2018 at 6:51 pm

        The media focus has no interest for me now. Let’s hope the legislation goes through quickly, and the politicians keep their word.

        Liked by 1 person

        • May 27, 2018 at 6:56 pm

          Absolutely. That seems to be the main message coming out today, at least – even a suggestion of special Summer Dail sittings to do it. Fingers crossed that actually happens.

          Like

  6. May 28, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    You did! I knew you would. Ireland is changing—even the men!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 28, 2018 at 9:10 pm

      Ha! Snap!! I was over visiting on your blog and here were you on mine!! Great news all round, Jane – our referendum result and your agent. I’m familiar with her list and it’s a great place to be 😀

      Like

      • May 28, 2018 at 9:13 pm

        You’re not kidding! It has been a great couple of weeks. We’re still celebrating, either reason will do. We were popping corks again this afternoon and I’m beginning to think if I want a few brain cells left to finish the sequels I’d better stop getting excited about things 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • May 28, 2018 at 9:25 pm

          Nuh-uh. Getting an agent is huge: it’s been a long battle to get here so if I were you I’d get it out of my system before moving on to more grunt work!!

          Like

          • May 28, 2018 at 9:32 pm

            Funny but what I feel most lucky about is that the ms has been rejected by all the small publishers I sent it to and not a single agent asked to see even a partial until Juliet Mushens. What if one of those girls with good teeth and a good hairdresser and an empty address book from across the pond had asked for it?

            Liked by 1 person

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