With queues stretching for what seemed like miles on the grey Temple Bar cobblestone, some closer to the front camping out as one would expect with pop-star ticket fever, the Repeal Project and Together For Yes shop relaunch was a massive hit today.
A combination of Together For Yes (TFY) and Repeal Project volunteers and organisers had worked restlessly to ensure all the merchandise - badges, key-rings, t-shirts, the now-iconic sweatshirts, stickers, leaflets - was neatly displayed in the modestly sized but welcoming rented space. And the crowds outside made it all worthwhile.
“The crowds outside are a glowing endorsement of the support that is behind the campaign. We’re nine days out, on the home stretch now,” TFY National Executive, Sarah Monaghan, excitedly told Hot Press. “What this is about is visibility and starting conversations. So wearing your badges, t-shirts, jumpers and getting those important issues discussed and sparking those conversations with your friends, your family, your neighbours, your colleagues, people you meet on the street.”
The doors opened at 6pm but queuing had begun hours earlier for some. Inside the shop revolving in-and-out, was a healthy mix of volunteers. From the inexperienced yet driven, to the hardened campaigners who reveal no signs of decelerating as the campaign trail ramps up further in the coming fortnight.
Despite the undisputed importance of fundraising and creating awareness, the pop-up shop, one volunteer tells us, represents more - a microcosm of the movement’s intentions. “This shop is more than just a shop, it’s a safe space. I started working here the day of the No Vote rally so I had a lot of people coming in here as respite and relief,” Laura Lebreton of TFY says. “We need some sanity right now. We’re here, we’re providing comfort for them. We’re not just selling t-shirts or selling badges - we’re here to support them”
Angela Coraccio, an Abortion Rights Campaign Director and recent TFY recruit, was on her first day. She restated the importance of the shop’s presence: “I think it’s really important for us to have a shop to, first of all, interface with the public but also to provide a nice, accessible place for people to buy merchandise. It’s a win-win."
Another volunteer, Dublin-based Roscommon native and Everyday Stories co-founder, Mary McDermott, was invited along by Repeal Project founder Anna Cosgrave, and was visibly ecstatic with the turn-out. “It’s pretty overwhelming, really, to see the support that there is and people literally wanting to wear their support on their chest and walk around in it. It’s amazing,” she says proudly.
This weekend we hear from Éilís who was 21 weeks pregnant when she was told her much wanted child was incompatible with life. She was forced to travel to Liverpool to end the pregnancy. Illustrated by @amylilymckeogh xhttps://t.co/Af5DucmOJb#EverydayStories #Together4Yes— Everyday Stories (@es_irl) May 13, 2018
This was the final restock of the multi-coloured sweatshirts in Dublin but the Yes campaign's momentum shows no sign of slowing down.
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