UCD #Strike4Repeal Rally takes place on campus

THIS afternoon, a couple hundred UCD students came together for a Repeal the 8th rally outside the James Joyce Library. The rally – organised by UCD for Choice – saw a number of students make speeches about the ongoing campaign for a referendum to repeal the eighth amendment.The rally started on the concourse just outside the library with a number of speeches. After that, the burgeoning crowd did two laps around the lake, lead by the #Strike4Repeal banner.A lecture walk-out was scheduled to take place at 12:30 before a number of speakers spoke on the issue, including Niamh Ní Chormac, Méabh Hennelly, and Mary Hayes, who are all prominent members of UCD for Choice.The rally was organised as part of both International Women’s Day, as well as the nationwide #Strike4Repeal movement. The strike called on people to take a day from work to protest the government into conducting a referendum on the eighth amendment, instead of waiting on results from the controversial Citizens’ Assembly.The UCD rally left the campus around 1:30pm in order to join up with the main protests in the city centre. Thousands of people from around the city have begun protesting on O’Connell Bridge in the middle of the city, before a further event taking place from the Garden of Remembrance later on this evening.At the rally Niamh Plunkett, a biomedical science and UCD for Choice committee member stated to the Observer that: “something needs to be done and this was a call to arms… I support Repeal the 8th so [the rally] was a reason to come out and do it.”Derbhla Ross, a second year Politics & Irish student mentioned that “I’ve been involved in the pro-choice movement since 2012 after Savita Halappanavar.”“I’ve gone to marches over the years and it’s kinda been a little bit flat… but this [the rally] is much better than I expected. We’ve been planning this for 43 days and to be honest it has exceeded my expectations.“It’s a human rights issue,” said Catherine Holmes, a second year arts student, “it’s a women’s issue, it’s a queer issue… it just hits your core. I can’t not march for it, it’s so important.”The run-up to the rally started on Monday morning with the Bus4Repeal arriving early on campus. The bus was organised by ROSA Ireland as a promotion exercise, and started its journey from UCD to various cities and universities around the country, before arriving back in the city centre this afternoon.[br]Additional reporting conducted by Louise Flanagan.