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Ireland has a very vocal pro-choice lobby, and social media has been instrumental in galvanising support, but an ultra-conservative right, backed by the Church, makes it difficult for any real progress to be made.
Beware crossing the Irish pro-lifer – when prime minster Enda Kenny pushed through a bill introducing limited abortion into Ireland for the first time, he received death threats, plastic foetuses and even letters written in blood.
So for years, I thought sex was basically a threesome with some bearded man co-ordinating.’ …and abortion is still a dirty word ‘When I was in first year at school, there was a rumour that a girl a few years ahead of us was pregnant,’ recalls Galway girl Ciara, 27.
‘I remember everyone being really shocked and appalled.
Dani, 26, also from Dublin, remembers getting a book from her parents when she was 11, to explain the birds and the bees.
‘The thing that stood out most was this pyramid diagram.
There’s a huge emphasis on family and hospitality, and the affectionately parodied Irish Mammy is pretty much like the Italian Mama.
‘I moved back home after uni, initially to do my masters,’ says 29-year-old Christine, from Co Wicklow. ‘I’ve slept with quite a few people,’ says Faye, 25, from Cork, ‘but it’s not something I’m keen to broadcast.
Sadly, the “slut” label still tends to be applied to a woman who’s had more than a handful of partners.’ It’s not just how many people you’ve slept with, it’s talking about sex, full stop.
She’ll ply you with food, always has the electric blanket on for you after a night out, and generally creates such a cosseting environment you’ll never want to leave.
It’s fairly standard for young Irish people to live at home right through university and even beyond.
We don’t know whether she had an abortion or kept it, but she disappeared and never came back.’ I’m a big fan of all things Irish (being kinda Irish and all) but there’s no way round it: the country’s abortion policies suck.