Belfast Telegraph

Boycott of Northern Ireland's film and TV industry not answer to abortion issue say Derry Girls

Writer Lisa McGee with the Derry Girls cast members (Niall Carson/PA)
Writer Lisa McGee with the Derry Girls cast members (Niall Carson/PA)
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

A boycott of the film and television industry is not the answer to Northern Ireland's abortion issues, the creator of Derry Girls has said.

Londonderry writer Lisa McGee addressed the issue on Twitter after a debate around the issue on social media in recent days.

A host of actors and media companies have called for a boycott of productions in the American states of Alabama and Georgia after they introduced strict new abortion laws.

Ms McGee said that she did not believe a similar boycott was necessary in Northern Ireland.

A number of high-profile shows have been filmed in Northern Ireland including Game of Thrones, Line of Duty, The Fall and McGee's Derry Girls.

"While I completely agree that abortion law in Northern Ireland is horrific and a breach of human rights, and that the British government must intervene and take immediate action to bring it in line with the rest of the UK, I don't feel a boycott of our film and television industry is the answer," Ms McGee wrote.

"The Northern Irish film and tv industry has been a light in the darkness.

"In a country where there is already little opportunity for young people it would only deprive them further. The fact that ultimately young Northern Irish women would suffer is depressing."

Ms McGee's comments were backed by Derry Girls star Nicola Coughlan, who plays Clare in the show.

Among those supporting the boycott campaign in the States are Alec Baldwin, Minnie Driver, Michael Sheen and Alyssa Milano saying they can not "in good conscience continue to recommend our industry remain in Georgia".

Nicola Coughlan at the Baftas
Nicola Coughlan at the Baftas

Northern Ireland currently has the most restrictive abortion laws in the UK and Ireland with abortions only permitted in the most extreme circumstances.

In 2017 almost 1,000 women travelled to the England and Wales for an abortion.

The UK Government has resisted calls to legislate for abortion in Northern Ireland, saying that it was a matter for a restored Stormont Executive.

Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner said she was "glad to be moving on" from working in Northern Ireland due to the abortion laws.

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