Free the 8th – Release the 8th


We now have the opportunity to end this dreadful degradation of women.  It is our constitutional right and is within our grasp to amend the constitution and remove the 8th amendment which is repugnant and oppressive to our sisters and mothers and indeed to all society.

The opportunity now presents itself to strike for freedom, to remove the biased hand of the Irish Catholic Church and have a constitution that expresses true democracy as expressed in the Proclamation of 1916.

Every man, woman, and child of voting age in this State has an obligation and a duty to fight injustice, to speak up and to challenge any obstacles to freedom of one’s own bodily integrity.  For far too long we have been in the dark ages.  For far too long we have shamed women in their greatest hour of need. We have created a dreadful legacy that has resulted in a nightmare scenario for many women who have undergone abortions for whatever reasons.  They carry a great uncertainty, a dark secret, a fear that they did something dreadfully wrong or indeed unlawful.

We have condemned them through the 8th amendment of our constitution. This is wrong.  We know its wrong.  We need to stand up, with courage and change this.

Free the 8th.  Release the 8th.  Repeal the 8th. Call it what you like.  But please vote YES and end this inequality.  For our sisters, for our mothers, for our girlfriends, for our wives, for our husbands, for our sons, for a healthier better Ireland.



Click on the link to watch Interview with Portuguese artist Paula Rego

Paula Rego Interview: Abortion as subject matter in my pictures

Artist Paula Rego’s images below were created in 1998 after the Portuguese abortion law failed due to the fact that people didn’t bother to vote.  The law has since been passed in 2007.




Paula Rego – Abortion Etchings Interview



Under the current law, abortions are allowed up 12 weeks if the mother’s life or mental or physical health is at risk, up to 16 weeks in cases of rape and up to 24 weeks if the child may be born with an incurable disease or deformity. The new law, approved on 9 March 2007, allows abortions on request up to the tenth week.[5]

The Boulevard of Equals

Tread softly because you tread on our dream - Say Yes, Vote Yes

Tread softly because you tread on our dream – Say Yes, Vote Yes


The forthcoming referendum on marriage equality offers a new generation of citizens the opportunity to have their values enshrined in the Irish constitution.  As it stands at the moment, the Constitution endorses a narrow faith-based definition of marriage rather than a definition that recognises the human and civil rights of all.

For too long Irish society has been managed by an unholy alliance of Church and State; there was only one way, the Catholic way.  There was no consideration given to the great mystery of how a human being, in its different shapes and forms, like a sturdy tree, evolves, grows and flourishes.  The constitution is not written in stone, but is a living document which should reflect the aspirations of all the citizens of the country.  This referendum is not about sexuality; it is about equality under the constitution – a hard fought for republican constitution which embraces the grand idea that no single individual nor institution should have domination.  It is time for the institutional Catholic Church and its supporters to realize that they can no longer expect their brand of virtue to be foisted upon others.  The relationship between citizens, their faith, their religion, their spirituality, their God and indeed their marriage choices are personal ones and our constitution must change now to protect the expression of those choices.

It is not surprising that those who, for centuries, have held a monopoly on what is deemed to be moral would be scared of change.  After all, religion and religious organisations have always been in the business of the religious business and sought to keep their customers loyal by whatever means possible – means ranging from burning at the stake to forced adoptions, destruction of family life, excommunication etc.  Those of us who have lived here long enough know too well the damage done when people are ruled by fear, exclusion, punishment and penalty.

God never failed anyone that I know who believes in God or a God, but I know tens of thousands of people who have walked away from the Catholic Church because they were betrayed, because they were let down, because they were damaged, because the Irish church was wrong.  There are many still whom I meet on a regular basis who are hurt, disappointed and who continue to go to church only to pray for answers and solutions to the decline of their church and to ease their own personal hurt and confusion about the behaviour of some members of the catholic clergy and of the church leadership.

If we don’t mature and become responsible citizens and go out in May and create a document that is fit for purpose, well then we all fall back. Things are changing in Ireland; they have been for some time and a “yes” vote will acknowledge and claim that change.  We don’t lose anything by voting YES.  We gain.  Irish society gains.   The constitution is a statement of our aspirations and many of us want Ireland to be a place where all our citizens can grow and flourish.  This is not a black and white issue about sexuality and sexual identity.  It’s not even a moral issue.  It’s an issue of legal and constitutional right and the freedom to express that right and for that right to be protected under the constitution.

Changing the constitution is what gives it life.  It is not a dusty old document under glass in a controlled atmosphere in some museum.  The constitution of Ireland is a flesh and blood document that lives and breathes alongside and with us.  It is the document from which our legislation flows and the laws of this republic should never endorse inequality in any shape or form.  It must give equal opportunity to all.  No exceptions.  The present Government are to be commended for bringing this referendum forward, but it is worth bearing in mind that it is highly unlikely that they would present the Irish public with an amendment to the constitution that is going to threaten our way of life in any shape or form.  I will be supporting the change to the constitution and I call on my fellow artists and all those in the cultural community to support an end to discrimination and exclusion. Equality now and always, till death do us part.

Voice of the Traveller magazine – press release

Please find attached a press release for Voice of the Traveller magazine outlining our plans to launch into general newsagents on Thursday June 20th .


I have also attached a map of the geographical areas our regional reporters cover. If you would like to get in contact with one of our regional reporters please contact us through 09064 98017.




Voice of the Traveller Magazine Launches into 1200 Newsagents Nationwide.


Since its first edition in 1991, Voice of the Traveller has become the only magazine in Ireland specifically dedicated to profiling Traveller life today.  It plays a key role in profiling Traveller culture, life and heritage, while remaining focused on current affairs and topical issues pertinent to the community.


A number of different media experts and designers have helped shape the magazine over recent years. As well as our regional reporters undergoing systematic training we now feel that Voice of the Traveller is at a standard to be displayed proudly on newsagent stands.


Written by Travellers for Travellers and the wider community, Voice of the Traveller serves as a window and guarantees its readers an authentic view of a community whose coverage in mainstream tabloids tends to be unrepresented and generally negative. Our regional reporters challenge the stereotypes and negative issues that have constantly arisen and only served to limit the potential growth of our community.

In recent editions of the magazine we have featured interviews from TV personality Vincent Browne, former Dragons’ Den panellist Sean Gallagher, Irish Olympic success John Joe Nevin and ex Westlife member Kian Egan. Issues covered over the past few editions include information on educational services, a look at life inside an Irish prison from a Traveller’s perspective and recent sensation, Kelly Mongan on her future ambitions. Voice of the Traveller also has a number of regular contributors from comedian Martin “Beanz” Ward who provides a light hearted look at the community and Youth Officer Michael Kelly whose column provides information on the importance of youth work in a child’s development. The latest contributor to become involved is Trinity graduate, playwright and activist Rosaleen McDonagh.


Over the recent number of years we have become more involved in mainstream media, taking part in shows such as the very successful Truth about Travellers which first aired in 2010 as well as Paddy and Sally’s excellent adventure 2012 and Hector Goes Traveller. More recently Voice of the Traveller was profiled in RTE’s Nationwide and was described by presenter Anne Cassin as “a magnificent publication but it’s much more than that, it’s an educator, providing a link between the settled and Traveller communities”.


Regional news and information on changes to the law as well as details of upcoming events keep our readers both in Ireland and abroad informed on what’s happening within the community. The magazine is hailed as a vital information tool to those separated from the community or living abroad.


For those that are interested in reading the other side of the story this is a must read.





Michael Power


Voice of the Traveller Magazine


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