A co-director of Yes Equality and two doctors who were prominent in the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment are amongst those lending their support to Laura Harmon, who yesterday announced her intention to contest the Seanad election on the NUI panel.
Ms. Harmon is an equality campaigner, who currently works as the Leadership Coordinator with the National Women’s Council of Ireland.
Those supporting her Seanad bid include Dr. Gráinne Healy, former co-director of Yes Equality, Dr. Peter Boylan, a former Master of the National Maternity Hospital and a prominent supporter of the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment, and Dr. Mark Murphy, a GP who was also involved in the Repeal campaign.
Ms. Harmon has also received the backing of Louise Crowley, a senior lecturer in family law at UCC, Claire McGing, a researcher at the Social Sciences Institute at Maynooth University, and Pádraig Rice, Coordinator of the Gay Project.
Announcing her candidature yesterday, Ms. Harmon said:
“I am delighted to have the backing of prominent NUI graduates who have had – and are continuing to have – a hugely positive impact on Irish society.
“I am a lifelong equality campaigner, and my motivation for standing in the Seanad election is to continue to achieve positive social change.
“As a Senator, I will prioritise Seanad reform. I believe the Seanad can be so much more than it is right now. I campaigned to retain the Seanad on the basis we were promised meaningful reform. However that reform has not been delivered. We need to extend the Seanad voting franchise and make voter registration more democratic.
“My current role in the NWCI is focused on reforming structures and societal norms that block women’s progress into positions of leadership. I will bring my energy, and my knowledge of reform and positive social action, to my work as a Senator.”
Originally from Cork, Ms. Harmon was President of the Union of Students in Ireland during the Marriage Equality referendum, and led the campaign that registered 30,000 students to vote.
During the successful campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment, she served as Head of Mobilisation for Together for Yes, organising a national ‘conversations tour’, which travelled across Ireland, and coordinating the ‘Get out the vote’ phase of the campaign.
She is a former board member of the National LGBT Federation (NXF) and the Higher Education Authority.
Ms. Harmon missed out on a Seanad seat in 2016, placing fifth out of 30 candidates.