On May 25th, the people of Ireland will be presented with the once-in-a-generation opportunity to vote ‘yes’ to repealing the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution. Since 1983, the Eighth Amendment has imposed a near total ban on access to abortion. Until it is repealed, it will continue to put the health, life and well-being of every pregnant woman and girl at risk.
Criminalised in their own country, 170,000 women have had to travel abroad to access safe and legal abortion services, in secrecy and shame. But on May 25th, change is possible.
‘The Tear in Ireland’s Eye’ was created in partnership between Amnesty International Ireland and glass artist Sinéad Brennan, who crafted the ‘tear’ sculpture featured in the short film. The tear symbolises the hurt and harm the Eighth Amendment has caused women, but the film also portrays the hope that a ‘yes’ vote would mean.
Sinéad Brennan was motivated to participate as a way of linking her activism to her art: “Women’s rights and equality issues are a common theme in my work. I wanted to use my art to highlight this important issue, and capture the quiet sadness, pain and struggle all too often endured by women in Ireland. I also want to show the many men who support women in their decisions. This film also reflects the possibility for healing 35 years of harm if a ‘yes’ vote is carried on May 25th.”
Sorcha Tunney, Coordinator of Amnesty Ireland’s ‘It’s Time’ campaign, highlighted the inherently hopeful message the film conveys: “As the referendum campaign enters its final days, this film is designed to be a quiet moment of reflection on what women and their families endure. But also how women are clear and resolute in their decisions. It also shows how, by voting ‘yes’, people in Ireland can make a statement about who we are and the society we aspire to be. An Ireland is now possible where all people who become pregnant are treated with dignity, compassion, equality and respect.”
The film shows the sculpture being transported to the island of Ireland’s Eye, off Dublin’s coast, by the glass artist, Sinéad Brennan, and one of the other creatives who worked on this project, Jack Robertson. The sculpture and film symbolise the importance of Irish women and men coming together to bring an end to the injustice of denying women abortion care in Ireland.
The other creatives involved in bringing the concept to life were Karina Cotter, Conor Kenny, Kerrie Sweeney, Jack and Hazel Tracey.
Use of Ireland’s Eye island was generously allowed by Julian Gaisford-St Lawrence. Ireland’s Eye Ferries ensured our passage to and from the island. Metalworker John Whelan created the plinth on Ireland’s Eye upon which the ‘tear’ sculpture is erected. The film was produced by Tiny Ark.