Since the launch of our International Women’s Day Conference, the Irish Women’s Lobby has been the target of a number of smear campaigns clearly intended to damage the reputation of our organisation and to disrupt our forthcoming March 8th event.
In addition to some defamatory commentary published by individuals, one of our esteemed guest panellists was subjected to overwhelming coercion from high-profile actors which compelled her to tender her withdrawal from the event.
The Irish Women’s Lobby categorically refutes the libellous statements and misinformation which has been propagated on social media platforms and we state categorically that no speaker was added to the published programme until confirmation had been received, in writing, from them to the organisers. Any allegation to the contrary is untrue and we view such allegations as a nefarious act intended to bring our organisation, our members and our supporters into disrepute. This campaign of bullying and smears has been most distressing both to our esteemed guest speaker and to the organisers who have worked hard to produce the event. We are both angry and disappointed that her important work on migrants’ rights in Ireland has been withheld, due to “controversy and blackmailing” in her own words, from our large international audience of attendees.
We are equally dismayed that a respected feminist campaigner ‘seconded’ one of the untruthful statements, thereby giving her imprimatur to the libel. Whilst we accept to some degree that commentators published the misinformation in their own personal capacity, these women also hold important governance roles in well-known women’s welfare organisations that are critical to the wellbeing and safeguarding of women, therefore their grievous assault on another independent women’s organisation cannot be entirely separated from their roles in those high-profile organisations to which they are privileged to contribute. As a collective of highly competent women with many decades of feminist activism between us, the Irish Women’s Lobby views this assault on our reputation by those who published, endorsed and re-distributed the libel, as a grievous attempt to obstruct and derail the progressive work of the Irish Women’s Lobby in advancing both the human and civil rights of women and girls in Ireland.
Ireland to some degree is witnessing a long-overdue renewal of feminist consciousness and, despite the overt patriarchal push-back, we can expect to see many more women’s collectives emerge in the coming years as disenfranchised women find new pathways to organising. Irish Women’s Lobby welcomes this development and sees itself as a part of an enlarging landscape of diverse women’s voices. We do not recognise as legitimate, nor will we capitulate, to horizontal coercion from ‘feminist’ actors who seek to gatekeep or moderate women’s activism anywhere on the island of Ireland; nor will we conform to demands from those who illegitimately abuse their power to compel the homogenisation of feminist narratives or condemn association with international sororities. Needless to say, we will accept no moderation whatsoever of our work, or our activities, from men! We will at all times take whatever means necessary and available to us to uphold our good reputation and our bonafides.
As sovereign citizens of a republic, women in Ireland have an inalienable right to freely associate and organise legitimately around a common purpose. The Irish Women’s Lobby stakes its claim to this inalienable right and views any and all attempts to obstruct this, by individuals or organisations, as a heinous, totalitarian and anti-democratic assault on our work, our organisation, and on our individual women members, who freely donate their physical, emotional and intellectual labour to further the status and advancement of women and girls.
In the meantime, we invite those interested in finding out more about the work of the Irish Women’s Lobby, to register for our free International Women’s Day Conference here.