- 17 May 18
Supporters of the Repeal movement once again showed their dedication and determination to the cause, as Temple Bar was packed out with queues for the relaunch of the limited REPEAL jumpers.
Waiting by the Library Project doors, a student studying abroad in UCD passes by me and asks, “What is all this for? Why are there so many people?”
As I begin to explain about the upcoming referendum and the national campaign, something he wasn’t aware of, he shakes his head in confusion.
“Oh, I didn’t know abortion was illegal here… Is it just Irish people who can buy the stuff to help?”
Laughing, I shake my head and encourage him to visit the shop when it’s quieter.
The Together For Yes relaunch of the much hyped coloured Repeal jumpers, in addition to the constant stock of badges, stickers, artwork, independent jewellery and accessories, has been going on for one hour. Neat queues fill the shop as people hand tickets to cashiers, detailing what they want to buy and what size. They leave, enthused and rejuvenated. Outside, curious passers-by stop and ask why are there crowds, for what? With eight days left until the 25th of May, the pull of the crowded laneway in Temple Bar brings a smile to the faces of staff. It unites us in our hope.
The crowd outside is heaving, but as the time passes there are no complaints or signs of impatience. The Together For Yes videographer passes down the line, calling for the masses to shout “VOTE YES!” Inside, Together For Yes volunteers swarm around restocking, packing and ensuring everything runs smoothly.
“There’s talk of having a staff party the day we pack up the shop - after the Referendum - so we’ll see how it all goes!” one volunteer tells me. Dressed in a blue Repeal jumper and between folding t-shirts and welcoming customers, she tells me that some volunteers arrived at 2pm earlier that day to help unload the stock, with others arriving at 4pm. With this much demand from the public, the work and dedication of the staff is a true testament to both Together For Yes and the Repeal Project. It's a location representing an ideology, a place of security and comfort for those exhausted from long weeks of canvassing and educating on the 8th Amendment.
The queue is already growing outside our @Together4yes hub in The Library Project, Temple Bar. Get down early to secure a jumper - we’re open at 6pm! ✊❤️ #together4yes #repealthe8th pic.twitter.com/ULmhdKxdHd
— repealproject (@repealproject) May 16, 2018
Many of the customers I speak to are here to show their support and wear their vote as a form of activism. “When my kids ask me what I was doing in this monumental moment in history, I want to tell them that I was here and that I was participating in any way I could. And it just makes me feel a little bit nauseous that it’s so close… I just have to do whatever I can,” one customer finishes with a sigh. Her feeling of determination is shared throughout the stream of people coming and going, jumpers and badges in tow.
Another two tell me that they’re simply here to show support and solidarity, appreciating the massive turn-out - while hoping to snag the baby-pink coloured Repeal jumper, undoubtedly the hottest fashion statement Ireland has seen in months. Expected to sell out by the end of the event - and it did, having done at the initial launch too. I’m still amazed at just how popular something so simple has become - the twist on the original black colouring representing how enthusiastic people are to stand out with their message emblazoned across their chest. It's a flame that caught and now with eight days left until Ireland votes in a historic referendum - it won't be extinguished.
For others, the message represents an deeply personal issue.
Speaking quickly, a younger woman tells me about her own experience regarding the on-going discourse. “A lot of people against abortion say that you could just put the child up for adoption. But I’ve been adopted. In the Irish system, my foster parents have spent seventeen years fostering me to try to adopt me, when it’s not an easy process.”
“Not to mention that there’s no system in place for pregnant women who choose to put their child up for adoption,” her friend chimes in.
The initial speaker nods. “They want to believe the best in the system, but the reality of it is far from their ideal image.”
For those outside of Dublin wishing to get their hands on the merchandise, the Cork pop-up shop will also be stocking the jumpers today. The Limerick Together for Yurt group will also have some stock in this weekend. But you are advised to act quickly at both locations, as sizes will sell out by the end of the day.
We’ve been getting a lot of messages asking about the new multi coloured Repeal jumpers. We’re getting the jumpers in this weekend but we don’t have them in stock quite yet. We’ll announce on social media when they’re in so keep an eye out! #Together4Yes #Repealthe8th pic.twitter.com/GtqOf0qHyK
— Limerick Together For Yes (@REPEAL_LK) May 16, 2018