Solidarity Bulletin

 Vol 1 Issue 5. June 2001.

Produced by the Syndicalist Solidarity Network.


Anarcho-Syndicalists and Anarchists are marching together on today's, Saturday 16th June, Stop Deportations demo to demand an end to Irish governments deportation of refugees.

Since the beginning of this year the Irish government has deported an average of one person a day from the state. The government has also negotiated 're-admission' agreements with the Romanian and Nigerian governments - which will result in an increase in the number of deportations in coming weeks and months.

The Irish government's pro-deportation policy is part of the ever tightening 'Fortress Europe'. As governments throughout Europe dismantle all barriers to the free flow of capital, barriers to the movement of people are increased - proving yet again that the world is run in the interests of the rich rather than of human need.

No Human being Is Illegal, Irish workers - with our history of being forced to emigrate - cannot allow the deportation of people who come here seeking a better life.


Join the rally for the right to choose. End the hypocrisy - support abortion rights in Ireland.

Rally for the right to choose.

Saturday June 23rd, 2.30pm assemble at Temple Bar Square, Dublin

bring banners, flags, placards bring a friend

If would like to travel down from Belfast contact the Belfast Local of the Syndicalist Solidarity Network at P.O. Box 505, Belfast, BT12 6BQ or email


On Wednesday 13th the Family Planning Association won the right to a judicial review of the lack of abortion rights in Northern Ireland. This could be the first step in establishing the rights of women to control their own bodies in the north. It is a significant development for which the Family Planning Association should be applauded.

For too long the lack of access to abortion has been forcing women in the north to travel to England to have access to those facilities. An approximate 1500 women from Northern Ireland are forced to make this trip every year, and this does not account for the number of women who for various reasons undergo unsafe "backstreet" terminations.

Between 1967 and 1995 there have been five known deaths in the north due to illegal abortions, research has shown that 11% of GP's have evidence of illegal abortions.

The Act which does apply to Northern Ireland, the British 1929 Infant Life (Preservation) Act states; " person shall be found guilty of offence...unless it is proved that the act which caused the death of the child was not done in good faith for the purpose only of preserving the life of the mother". This Act was not extended to Northern Ireland until 1945.

Pro-choice supporters are still demanding the extension to Northern Ireland of the 1967 legislation which allows for legal abortion in England, Scotland and Wales. Abortion is only available in very rare circumstances, and doctors, aware that they are acting in a legal grey area, are naturally cautious. It is generally accepted that abortion may be available if the woman has a serious medical or psychological problem which would jeopardise her life or her health should the pregnancy continue, the woman has severe learning difficulties or abnormality of the foetus is detected. However, securing an abortion even in these circumstances is far from certain, decisions often amount to the imposition of a particular doctor's moral rather than medical opinion.

The effects of this were made clear at an international tribunal of doctors, lawyers and academics organised by the Northern Ireland Abortion Law Reform Association as long ago as 1987. It concluded that while women from N.I. were having abortions, they were not being performed here; since women from N.I. were forced to travel, and pay for their abortion in Britain, or if they could not afford to do so endure an unwanted pregnancy or unsafe illegal abortion, there was an implicit discrimination against economically disadvantaged women. Abortion law in the north is a class issue. It also concluded that as a result women in the north are prey to isolation fear and loneliness to a much greater extent than in Britain. Another shocking find was that even a woman who had become pregnant as a result of rape or incest or whose health would be risked by continuing the pregnancy could not be guaranteed an abortion.

Stigma, deception, silence, backstreet abortions, intimidation and intolerance is the lot of women, particularly working class women who also suffer the additional financial burden, who have undergone abortions and have had the misfortune of being from 21st century Ireland - north or south.


Ireland, north and south is a country united by bigotry and religious intolerance. The circumstances of women facing unwanted pregnancies are disregarded by predominantly male right wing and fundamentalist religious morals which still hold sway on both sides of the border.

It is estimated that more than 6,000 women from the Irish Republic travel to England each year to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

An unwanted pregnancy, and the very real poverty faced by many working class women, coupled with a lack of child care facilities, lack of family and social support, religious stigma and successive state 'clampdowns' on single mums means that the reality for many women is that abortion is not simply a 'choice' but a necessity.

Women on Waves docked in Dublin on Friday 15th of June, delayed by stormy waters, as the first port of call to countries where abortion is illegal or dangerous. They are distributing information on contraception, safe sex and abortion and are equipped to carry out up to 20 abortions a day. However, due to the overwhelming demand for the ship's services and complications regarding licensing of the clinic, Women on Waves have regretfully announced that no abortions, surgical or medical, will be performed on board the ship.

This and the FPA winning the judicial review on legislation in the north has put the pro-choice argument centre stage in Ireland. We will only be able to secure accessible, free and safe abortion, as one of a range of real choices for women with unexpected or unwanted pregnancies, if we take matters into our own hands.

The campaign for meaningful choice must be based on direct action, we cannot rely on the bigots and fundamentalists we have in government to simply enact legislation for us.

This applies to all aspects of our lives, not just control over our bodies and fertility. This must be the start of a concerted and revitalised campaign to assert the freedom and dignity of women over the twisted rhetoric of both states on this island.

To the Syndicalist Solidarity Network