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Well Versed Irish government Minister Unveils Monument to Victims of Pro-life Amendment

On a date to be confirmed,

when those who remember 1983

will sleep safely in their graves,

or be anxiously telling nurse

about the auld ones with crucifixes

they think are coming to get them


a girl, today

on holidays from primary school,

by then grown into

a Maggie Thatcher suit, will thank

the Chamber of Commerce

for use of their microphone

as a pulled chord unwraps a figure

chipped from stone


in memory

of those forced

to change trains at Crewe clutching

solitary suitcases that screamed

one night only,


those that bled out in the backs

of London taxis after journeys

made possible by post office accounts

and extra hours at the newsagent’s;


all because of a stick

which, for them, turned

the wrong colour

the wrong year

in the wrong country.


And as the Minister continues,

across the road a little girl will grab

her mother’s arm and ask:

“what’s that lady saying?”


On Friday, there is a referendum to remove the ban on abortion inserted into the Irish constitution in 1983. Several women and girls have over the years taken legal action against the Irish state to obtain the right to an abortion or the right to travel to Britain for one. There are many recently unveiled monuments around Ireland to victims of other past abuses, such as the women detained in the Magdalene laundries, and this poem looks forward to the day some future Irish government minister unveils a monument to the victims of the 8th Amendment, which by then many will not even remember.


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