Belfast Telegraph

Pro-choice issue to fore as women rally in Belfast 100 years on from gaining vote

By Allan Preston

Well over 1,000 campaigners travelled to Belfast from all over Ireland to take part in a march marking 100 years of voting rights for women.

Billed as a mass participation artwork, parades also took place in Cardiff, Edinburgh and London.

In 1918 the Representation of the People Act gave British women the right to vote and stand for public office.

A century later - following the recent Irish referendum - reform of abortion law in Northern Ireland was centre stage at the event dubbed 'Processions'.

Local campaigning groups and those from Dublin, Donegal, Galway and Cork assembled at the Titanic slipway before marching with banners and chanting slogans on their way to Belfast City Hall.

Among those taking part was Derry Girls actress Saoirse-Monica Jackson.

Posting a picture with the crowds on Twitter, she said: "There is no freedom without the freedom of woman. I am having the most fantastic day at Processions Belfast."

Sarah Daly from Galway East For Choice was dressed in Suffragette period costume.

"We repealed the eight amendment down in Galway and we just want to show our support for our sisters in the north," she said.

"It's lovely to be dressed as a Suffragette to celebrate the 100 years, hopefully we're making history as well. I think things have to change here, sooner rather than later hopefully."

A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Pacemaker Press 10/06/2018 Thousands took part in a procession to mark 100 years of votes for women, The rally left Titanic slipways to Belfast City Hall in a 1.5 mile walk , with processions taking place across UK capitals Belfast, London, Edinburgh and Cardiff to celebrate 100 years since the first British women won the right to vote. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 10/06/2018 Thousands took part in a procession to mark 100 years of votes for women, The rally left Titanic slipways to Belfast City Hall in a 1.5 mile walk , with processions taking place across UK capitals Belfast, London, Edinburgh and Cardiff to celebrate 100 years since the first British women won the right to vote. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 10/06/2018 Thousands took part in a procession to mark 100 years of votes for women, The rally left Titanic slipways to Belfast City Hall in a 1.5 mile walk , with processions taking place across UK capitals Belfast, London, Edinburgh and Cardiff to celebrate 100 years since the first British women won the right to vote. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 10/06/2018 Thousands took part in a procession to mark 100 years of votes for women, The rally left Titanic slipways to Belfast City Hall in a 1.5 mile walk , with processions taking place across UK capitals Belfast, London, Edinburgh and Cardiff to celebrate 100 years since the first British women won the right to vote. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 10/06/2018 Thousands took part in a procession to mark 100 years of votes for women, The rally left Titanic slipways to Belfast City Hall in a 1.5 mile walk , with processions taking place across UK capitals Belfast, London, Edinburgh and Cardiff to celebrate 100 years since the first British women won the right to vote. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 10/06/2018 Thousands took part in a procession to mark 100 years of votes for women, The rally left Titanic slipways to Belfast City Hall in a 1.5 mile walk , with processions taking place across UK capitals Belfast, London, Edinburgh and Cardiff to celebrate 100 years since the first British women won the right to vote. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 10/06/2018 Thousands took part in a procession to mark 100 years of votes for women, The rally left Titanic slipways to Belfast City Hall in a 1.5 mile walk , with processions taking place across UK capitals Belfast, London, Edinburgh and Cardiff to celebrate 100 years since the first British women won the right to vote. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 10/06/2018 Thousands took part in a procession to mark 100 years of votes for women, The rally left Titanic slipways to Belfast City Hall in a 1.5 mile walk , with processions taking place across UK capitals Belfast, London, Edinburgh and Cardiff to celebrate 100 years since the first British women won the right to vote. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 10/06/2018 Thousands took part in a procession to mark 100 years of votes for women, The rally left Titanic slipways to Belfast City Hall in a 1.5 mile walk , with processions taking place across UK capitals Belfast, London, Edinburgh and Cardiff to celebrate 100 years since the first British women won the right to vote. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th June 2018 A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Similar parades took place in different cities around the UK at the same time. The parade started the Titanic centre making its way through the city to the grounds of the city hall. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th June 2018 A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Similar parades took place in different cities around the UK at the same time. The parade started the Titanic centre making its way through the city to the grounds of the city hall. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th June 2018 A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Similar parades took place in different cities around the UK at the same time. The parade started the Titanic centre making its way through the city to the grounds of the city hall. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th June 2018 A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Similar parades took place in different cities around the UK at the same time. The parade started the Titanic centre making its way through the city to the grounds of the city hall. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th June 2018 A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Similar parades took place in different cities around the UK at the same time. The parade started the Titanic centre making its way through the city to the grounds of the city hall. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th June 2018 A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Similar parades took place in different cities around the UK at the same time. The parade started the Titanic centre making its way through the city to the grounds of the city hall. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th June 2018 A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Similar parades took place in different cities around the UK at the same time. The parade started the Titanic centre making its way through the city to the grounds of the city hall. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th June 2018 A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Similar parades took place in different cities around the UK at the same time. The parade started the Titanic centre making its way through the city to the grounds of the city hall. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th June 2018 A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Similar parades took place in different cities around the UK at the same time. The parade started the Titanic centre making its way through the city to the grounds of the city hall. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th June 2018 A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Similar parades took place in different cities around the UK at the same time. The parade started the Titanic centre making its way through the city to the grounds of the city hall. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th June 2018 A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Similar parades took place in different cities around the UK at the same time. The parade started the Titanic centre making its way through the city to the grounds of the city hall. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th June 2018 A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Similar parades took place in different cities around the UK at the same time. The parade started the Titanic centre making its way through the city to the grounds of the city hall. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th June 2018 A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Similar parades took place in different cities around the UK at the same time. The parade started the Titanic centre making its way through the city to the grounds of the city hall. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th June 2018 A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Similar parades took place in different cities around the UK at the same time. The parade started the Titanic centre making its way through the city to the grounds of the city hall. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th June 2018 A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Similar parades took place in different cities around the UK at the same time. The parade started the Titanic centre making its way through the city to the grounds of the city hall. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th June 2018 A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Similar parades took place in different cities around the UK at the same time. The parade started the Titanic centre making its way through the city to the grounds of the city hall. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th June 2018 A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Similar parades took place in different cities around the UK at the same time. The parade started the Titanic centre making its way through the city to the grounds of the city hall. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 10th June 2018 A parade celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK takes place in Belfast. Similar parades took place in different cities around the UK at the same time. The parade started the Titanic centre making its way through the city to the grounds of the city hall. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
10/6/18 PACEMAKER PRESS Processions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork to celebrate one hundred years of voting rights for women in the UK. Sunday 10th June, one hundred years on, women* and girls across the UK are invited to come and mark this historic moment as part of a living portrait of women in the 21st century. Wearing either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, the Processions will appear as a flowing river of colour through the city streets. MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS

Sharon McMenamin from Donegal Together For Yes said: "Until we're all free, none of us is free.

"It's a critical time in history for women and a critical right for women is bodily autonomy."

Her colleague Michelle McCabe said: "If you control someone's fertility, you control their life.

"I think it's a matter of time before the law changes here, but now you have citizens here who also have the same rights as women across Ireland."

Emma Gallen, outreach coordinator for Alliance For Choice in Northern Ireland, said: "It's looking really well today, we've people coming to show support for women's rights from all across Ireland.

"It's really heartening that so many people can see the link between these issues and are willing to travel to support us.

"If the Suffragettes from 100 years ago could visit us today I think they'd laugh, but they'd also be very disappointed to see we're still fighting for basic rights."

Aislinn Shanahan from Dublin travelled with friends Leia O'Mahony and Alexandra Day to take part on behalf of People Before Profit.

She said the large turnout showed women's issues were at "a boiling point" across Ireland.

"I was active in the repeal movement down south, it's always been important to me to connect these human rights issues with the north, it's a 32-county issue," she added.

"A lot of women are rising up right now to become politically active, but also I feel like there's a constant barrage of horrible things happening like the #MeToo movement. It's good that people are active but I also think: 'Why is this still happening?'.

"There's a good and a bad side to it, but I definitely think things are getting to a boiling point now, especially after repeal.

"Hopefully people know they can win these battles. There's more to fight for and probably always will be."

Aislinn said she became politically engaged after the death of Savita Halappanavar in 2012.

The 31-year-old Indian dentist died in a Galway hospital after doctors refused to perform an abortion as she miscarried.

"A lot of young people became engaged in the issue at the time as it showed how it was relevant to our lives," she said.

Belfast Telegraph

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