A group of local Ardee teenagers are the brains behind a new video launched this week focusing on why the issue repealing the eighth amendment is important to young people in Ireland.
Published under the name Irish Progressive Youth, the pro-choice video includes 12 young people from across Ireland, including three from Ardee. Five months in the making, the video sees the teenagers talk directly to camera, explaining why they are backing calls to have Ireland’s abortion laws changed.
“It’s a group of young people from across Ireland explaining exactly what the situation is in regards to our abortion laws here in Ireland and just basically saying why the eighth amendment should be repealed in a manner that is clear and easy for people to understand,” Steven Brennan Silke (above middle) told ThisIsArdee.ie.
Steven, from Ardee, is joined in the video by friends Ellen Campbell and Hannah Trainor (below), also from Ardee. Ellen and Hannah sat their Leaving Certificate in Ardee Community School in June.
“I think we needed to get across the point that young people are interested in this. The best way to show we care about this and care about what happens is through social media,” Ellen told us, explaining why they felt a video was the best way get their message across.
“The main points get lost between the two sides. The points get manipulated and then people don’t understand,” Steven added.
“The video is very informative it’s just facts,” Ellen said. With the March for Choice 2017 taking place in Dublin this coming Saturday, now is as good a time as any for the video to be launched. But the group admit that was more of a coincidence than anything else.
“There was no intention to release the video around the march, that just kind of happened,” Ellen told us.
“Ellen suggested the idea in relation to the march and we feel not only is now a good time release to release the video because it gets people talking but we like to think it might encourage people to attend the march too,” Steven, who studies Civil Law at NUI Galway, said.
“Once they know the exact issue at hand and realise it could be an issue they are passionate about, we hope it has that effect,” he continued. “The timing is just a happy coincidence.”
Others who take part in the video (above) hail from Dublin, Cork, Galway, Donegal, Wexford and elsewhere. It’s a truly nationwide effort and Saturday’s march will have a similar look to it as pro-choice supporters flock to the capital. Steven, Ellen and friends attended the Strike for Repeal event in March as they took a break from exam revision. They hope the video can play a part in inspiring others to attend this time.
“I just want to encourage people to go on Saturday and make their voices heard. We want people to be informed, watch the video and share if they like it,” Ellen said.
Steven concurred. “We just want people to be informed about the issue. Once people learn about the issue and have a conversation and get into it, people can understand what it’s all about.
“We really wanted to push the idea that young people are passionate about this and we wanted to get people involved in the campaign in some way. We put it out there on social media and asked if anyone was interested in taking part in the project. We had a really good response to it.
It was “pure pot luck” that one of those who got involved – Martha Lovett Cullen – could double up on video editing duty and after the initial idea came about in April, it started to take shape in the summer, with exams and holidays behind everyone.
“The video explains what our laws are and then debunks the arguments on the other side. It’s basically about how it can effect you and effect people in your life,” Ellen explains. “There is no aggression.”
“If one person were to see the video and think about it in a different light or become involved in some way, that would be a win for us,” Steven adds. “The whole debate can be aggressive and intimidating and that’s often why people back away. Our video is informative – and that’s the key word.”
The video has gained serious traction on social media on Monday, especially on Twitter where the likes of author Marian Keyes, Irish Times journalist Roisin Ingle and Executive Director of Amnesty International Colm O’Gorman have expressed their support.
— Marian Keyes (@MarianKeyes) September 25, 2017
— Roisin Ingle (@roisiningle) September 25, 2017
— Colm O’Gorman (@Colmogorman) September 25, 2017