As the debate around Repealing the 8th Amendment heats up, Cait Caden looks at the impact of art in protest.
Over the past month Together for Yes have started selling campaign merchandise in Dublin’s newest pop-up shop, Meltdown of Stephen’s Street. The pop-up shop sells everything from coffee to a newly added stock of ‘Together for Yes’ badges, cups and t-shirts. The merchandise follows the LoveBoth hoodies and Repeal jumpers that have been for sale over the last number of years, opening up a discussion about politics in fashion.
“We are thrilled to be finally able to offer all of the Together for Yes community an opportunity to buy our branded merchandise in the city centre with all proceeds going directly into the campaign for a Yes vote on May 25,” said Sarah Monaghan a spokesperson for Together for Yes, according to Her.ie.
With just over a week to go before Ireland votes on whether or not to repeal the 8th Amendment which prohibits abortion in Ireland, both sides of the campaign are relying heavily on optics.
Together for Yes, Amnesty as well as LoveBoth and right wing political party The National Party have all erected posters across the country, urging citizens to vote a particular way. LoveBoth and Together for Yes however are at the centre of the debate around referendum optics.
“The thing about the badges, the stickers, the jumpers and all that jazz is that it lets people express themselves how they are voting and campaign in their own way but the posters bombard people,” said Dublin woman Rachel Gray.
The pro-life group LoveBoth and the pro-choice group Together for Yes provide a range of merchandise which allows people to express how they will vote. However it is the visuals on posters that have caused the most controversy.
Recently an anti-choice group photoshopped a picture of an aborted foetus onto a campaign poster for Minister for Health, Simon Harris. In addition, with promotion misleading information on posters such as stating abortion will be legalised without restriction up to 6 months has led to many people call for a regulation.
However some believes this stifles debate. DCU lecturer Vicky Conway argues the posters give an atmosphere that “a referendum is happening,” and that she doesn’t “think all posters should be taken down. I think that is extreme”.