I'm finally ringing my dad tonight to talk about the referendum 4 years ago

I'm finally ringing my dad tonight to talk about the referendum

I was going to write a piece telling you to have the conversation you've been putting off but I realised it'd be hypocritical to do that when I haven't had the one I've been putting off.

Recent polls suggest that the Yes side is marginally ahead in the run-up to Friday's referendum on the 8th amendment, but we can't be complacent.


An Irish Times survey revealed last Sunday that 17 per cent of voters remain undecided.

I don't know whether my dad is one of those, because I've largely been avoiding talking about the referendum with him.

My mum and I have been able to have that conversation and we're of the one mind but I don't know where my dad stands, which is kind of mad because we'd be close and talking about what's going on in the news is often enough all we do.


I know he'll definitely be very informed and sure to be voting on Friday. I just don't know whether he'll tick Yes or No.

My dad's a pretty private person, not least when it comes to his political views, and also not as liberal as the rest of us in the house would be. I've seen him look bemused at the Repeal jumpers my sisters and I wear and I'm worried, maybe unfairly, that he thinks the Yes campaign is a hippy bandwagon we've jumped on. I can't assume he'll vote Yes.

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I also can't assume that the issue hasn't affected him personally. I don't know what he's experienced through work, through his friendship group or even through our own family, that might have shaped his opinion. I don't know whether raising four daughters will have had a bearing on how he feels.

I don't know whether something he's heard on the radio in the car on the way to work will have resonated with him. I don't know whether he's been upset by something he's seen on a poster or that he's heard from a canvasser.

I don't know where he stands and it's not really my right to know. But I have to know that I've explained why this vote means so much to me. It probably won't sway him, but I have to try. I'm afraid that he'll think I'm being patronising and I'm worried that I won't like what I hear if I bring up the referendum with him, which is why I'm really not looking forward to ringing him.

But now that I've written this, I have to.


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So do it with me. Chances are, if you're reading this, you're a woman. We know that male voters, especially younger ones, will be hugely important in this referendum. We also know that some men think abortion is a woman's issue, but in the same way that the LGBT community needed straight people to step up and be allies in the marriage referendum three years ago, women and girls need men to step up now.

Get on to the men in your life - your brother, your friends, your boyfriend, your dad. And get on to the women too; especially anyone you think could be undecided or may not vote. It probably won't be fun but let's suck it up. A woman asking anything of anyone can and will be framed as nagging but feck it.

It's just now, just this week, so have that conversation that you've been putting off and hopefully we'll all never have to have this conversation again.