- 15 May 18
In addition to the hot spot for the new coloured Repeal jumpers, the Together For Yes pop-up has become a major touch-point for campaigners.
The most recent Save The 8th Rally took place last Saturday on the 12th of May. Despite bouts of ugliness and aggressiveness towards members of the pro-choice campaign, the city swirled with Together For Yes badges and other forms of Repeal merchandise. Quietly making their statement and showing their support. And the driving force behind this increase in visibility could be owed to the easily accessible shop that has claimed The Library Project for the month of May.
Stocking keychains, stickers, badges and informational leaflets free of charge, the interactive gallery space and library has become the go-to for Vote Yes merchandise - and unexpectedly a meeting place and a peaceful environment.
“We saw a huge influx of people in the shop that particular Saturday,” states Laura, one of the many volunteer staff at the Together For Yes pop-up. “A lot of people came in here looking for relief that Saturday in particular - we had one pregnant customer wearing her Yes badge and reportedly, Love Both volunteers kept coming up to her and giving her hassle! They kept trying to take pictures of her too - because of her badge and being clearly pregnant. So it’s really more than just a shop right now.”
We know that t-shirts and badges are conversation-starters and we know that starting conversations is key to winning this referendum. With such a short time to go between now and May 25th, visibility is crucial at this stage.
- Extract from the Together For Yes Facebook event regarding the pop-up.
The pop-up shop recently saw the launch of coloured Repeal jumpers on the 3rd of May. Due to the sheer demand of the infamous black Repeal jumpers, Anna Cosgrave of the Repeal Project decided to introduce new colours - pink, blue and plum. While the plain black jumpers are available via the Abortion Rights Campaignwebsite, the coloured ones were a limited run - and indeed, they sold out the very next day. And with all proceeds going towards Together For Yes, the donations will be used for social media campaigns, posters and national resources for the canvassing groups.
According to Clare, another volunteer with Together For Yes, the entire event was far beyond the exceptions of all the staff and quite overwhelming. “We had queues inside the room, out the doors and down Temple Bar. We knew it’d be popular, but we were blown away - we started giving out free badges to those waiting too, just because the wait was so long. But we’re so exited for Wednesday night - we’ve had people working extra hours, extra shifts and we’re more prepared for that.”
The act of increasing visibility in the public eye has always been a key plan of action for Together For Yes. For such a stigmatised and taboo topic in Ireland, society has already come a long way since the initial release and it’s clear the demand for such merchandise is growing even stronger as the referendum grows nearer. People are galvanised to sign up for local canvassing events and speak with friends and family, united together.
“It’s so important in the last two weeks,” Clare comments. “Any visibility is needed and welcome. The Library Project has been such a fantastic support too and we’re so grateful. The link between Repeal and the amount of creativity we’re seeing is also fantastic. There’s a great sense of people feeling the injustice and doing whatever they can - and if that’s art, it is equally important. For the first week we had an exhibit called Everyday Stories - personal accounts from those affected by the 8th Amendment and we still have some of those stories up. There’s art and activism combined and you can really feel that.”
The coloured REPEAL jumpers will relaunch from The Library Project tomorrow evening, the 16th of May, at 18:00. If interested in attending, you are advised to arrive early. The pop-up only accepts cash.