Organisers estimate that about 70,000 people took part in the annual ‘Rally for Life’ march in Dublin on Saturday.
Marching behind a banner to ‘Save the 8th’ the large crowd, which included a number of bishops and politicians, walked from Parnell Street to Merrion Square where a carnival atmosphere prevailed with balloons, face-painting and live music.
Speakers included Karen Gaffney, an internationally acclaimed champion for people with Down’s Syndrome, and there were also performances from acclaimed Scottish tenor Martin Alred, up and coming Longford rapper Evans Junior. Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute described the Save the 8th Rally as the “real Citizen’s Assembly” and said that grassroots activists right across the country had been mobilised by the Government’s plan to hold a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment.
“The Rally for Life is always a huge, colourful, exciting, life-affirming event but this year it has a special focus: to tell the Government and the nation that the pro-life majority are activated and motivated, and that if we want to best protect the lives of both mother and baby we should ‘Save the 8th’,” she said.
Ms Uí Bhriain said that the rally was a springboard for a series of ‘Save the 8th’ events planned for the summer. The Rally for Life, which met a small pro-choice protest on O’Connell Street, is organised by Life Institute, Youth Defence and Precious Life and is the biggest pro-life event held in the country every year, alternately in Belfast and Dublin.