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Savita mural becomes focal point for Yes campaigners

Some people were in tears as they left flowers by the mural and taped messages to the wall.

Notes of sympathy on a mural of Savita Halappanavar in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)
Notes of sympathy on a mural of Savita Halappanavar in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

Flowers and messages have been left at a mural to Savita Halappanavar, who died after being refused an abortion, as exit polls show Ireland has voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

The mural, outside the Bernard Shaw pub in Portobello, Dublin, went up on Thursday and became a focal point for Yes campaigners on Saturday as polling data suggested seven out of 10 voters backed reform.

Some people were in tears as they left flowers by the mural and taped messages to the wall.

Floral tributes underneath a mural of Savita Halappanavar in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

Mrs Halappanavar, an Indian dentist, died in 2012 in a hospital in Galway after being refused an abortion during a miscarriage.

Aoife O’Driscoll, 36, who was at the mural with two-year-old daughter Finn.

Ms O’Driscoll said: “I took part in rallies 20 years ago so it’s been going on a long time.

“We didn’t want to be out canvassing with her when she was a teenager.

“I’m speechless. It means much more than what it is.”

Kelly Phelan, 36, left flowers at the mural on behalf of her mother.

She said: “It’s not really a feeling of happiness this morning, but it’s overwhelming relief actually and it finally feels like we’ve got it right.”

A father and son look at sympathy messages left at the mural. (Niall Carson/PA)

Ian Jennings, 24, said: “I’ve come down here specifically to say sorry to the women of Ireland and women like Savita that we let down.

“For decades in this country we turned women away, hid them and we shamed them and our generation has decided that we are never going to do that again.”

One message taped to the wall read: “I’m sorry. I hope this absolves our country’s guilt.”

Another note said: “Your death started me on this journey to repeal the eighth. Today I stand proud of our country as we managed to do that.

“You will never be forgotten and I’m so sorry we couldn’t help you. My yes was for you.”

Rosita Sweetman, 70, a founder member of the women’s movement in Ireland, went to see the mural on Saturday morning.

She said: “It feels like the end of hundreds of years of repression by the Catholic Church. It’s such a huge change.”

Anna McCarthy and Aoife O’Driscoll become emotional as they look at the mural (Niall Carson/PA)

Sixty-year-old Linda Cummins said: “I’m feeling a bit emotional and happy and relieved that this has been taken out of the constitution.

“I think Savita was kind of iconic, she focused us on what this actually meant for women and what was really happening and it was just such a terrible, avoidable tragedy.”

Cormac McKenna, 61, left a message on the wall at the mural.

He told the Press Association: “I think there’s a sense of what could have happened if we didn’t put it into the constitution in the first place. There’s a huge sense of relief.”

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph