Next I will be discussing the 1980s, which was an era of recession, high emigration and constitutional bars set opposing divorce and abortion. “In 1980, around 8pc of college graduates left to find work and further training abroad.”(Independent, 2009) There was many setbacks in the 1980s that the IWLM had tried so hard to avoid, these setbacks included constitutional refusal of abortion and divorce. In 1978 the minister for health at the time, Charles Haughey, brought the family planning bill into Irish households. The bill started in 1980 but only allowed people to receive contraception if they were married and through prescription in a pharmacy. Ireland in the 1900s had a massive phobia of foreign things, but with AIDS and HIV on the rise the trading of contraception became more relaxed in the mid-1980s. Many people in in Irish society designated the law as “an Irish solution for an Irish problem” – allowed married couples to obtain contraceptives from a doctor or a chemist provided they were satisfied that these were solely for “bona fide” family planning purposes.”(Cooney J, 2006). This saying would be used throughout Irish history to present day with it only recently being used to describe the Irish boarder issues.
A ban against divorce had been present in the Irish constitution since the 1930s. A referendum regarding divorce took place in Ireland in 1986 but was rejected. “In 1986 the Irish electorate voted to retain the prohibition against divorce contained in the Irish Constitution. ” (Duncan W, 1988). Although the referendum regarding divorce was not passed it was still a step for Irish society to allow a referendum of this type to even take place.
Although the 1980s didn’t progress as quickly as previous decades organisations and government groups didn’t stop in the fight for women in Ireland to obtain some right over their lives.
I will now be discussing the period of the 1990s, a time in Irish history where the women’s movement ceased and many smaller local groups and organisations strongly announced many issues that would have been previously disgraced by many members of Irish society. The 90s was a very successful decade for sexism to cease and where Ireland would finally receive its first two Women Presidents. In 1990 Mary Robinson was elected as the first female President of Ireland followed by Mary McAleese. “In a society dominated by professionally celibate male’s intent on regulating other people’s sex lives and pietism, Mary Robinson is a phenomenon. Not only is she an opponent of thought control and an outspoken advocate for women and gays, but she’s also Irelands first woman President. “(Baldwin L, 1996)
Another great successes of the 1990s was the passing of the Irish divorce referendum in 1995. “The referendum vote on divorce was very close, with 50.28% in favor and 49.79% opposed.” (Egan C, 2016). By the time the Divorce Referendum came around in the 1990s in Ireland, our country was the last one in Europe to finally legalise divorce.
In 1993 the Family planning act was adapted to allow contraceptives to be sold without prescription.