Ailbhe Smyth (Ireland)

Convenor, Coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment

Ailbhe is a long-time feminist and LGBT activist who has fought many political campaigns in Ireland. She played a central role in the victorious referendum campaign for lesbian and gay marriage equality in 2015.

A veteran pro-choice campaigner, in 2013 she had co-founded the Coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment – a broad civil society platform – to fight for the removal of the near-total ban on abortion inserted in the Irish Constitution in 1983.

The Coalition went on to become one of the three pillars of ‘Together for Yes’ which led the national referendum campaign for repeal of the 8th amendment and the right to abortion in May 2018. The referendum was carried by a stunning 66.4% majority in one of the highest ever referendum turnouts in Ireland. ‘It was the most extraordinary moment of my life,’ she says. 

Ailbhe was a senior academic at University College Dublin, where she was founding head of Women’s Studies. She has been published widely on feminism, politics, and culture. 


Learn more about Ailbhe’s #FRO2020 Keynote:

Ireland: The historic campaign which legalised abortion