On the 25th May 2018 the Irish citizens will be asked to vote on repealing the 8th amendment of the constitution to allow legislation to be created to legalise abortion.
A lot of the discussion ahead of the referendum has been about Irish women and men. But there is a significant portion of the population that has been left out of the debate, and are not allowed to vote in the referendum next week, but are none-the-less affected by its outcome.
According to census data for 2016 there are around 535,000 foreign nationals living in Ireland – that’s 11.6% of the population. These are people who work, make their lives, pay their taxes, contribute to society, send their children to school, and access health care of Ireland.
The average age of immigrants is lower than that of Irish citizens. Nearly half of non-Irish nationals are aged 25 and 42 (child-rearing years), in comparison to only a quarter of Irish nationals. And so the abortion issue disproportionately affects immigrants much more than Irish people.
And yet only Irish citizens are allowed to vote in the referendum.
Non-Irish nationals face the same crisis pregnancies as Irish women – but potentially face bigger problems accessing safe abortion services. They may not be as wealthy as Irish people, face language barriers, and may also be restricted from travelling to countries like the UK because of visa problems.
And so, for the one-in-ten that have no voice in the referendum, we call on the Irish citizens to vote YES for us. For yourselves. For all the people of Ireland.