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16th Oct 2019

In tonight’s Finné, Amy Dunne shares her side of the story on the abortion case that gripped the nation

Brought to you by TG4

It’s a MUST watch.

The third episode of Finné’s second season recalls Amy Dunne’s (or Miss D as she was referred to at the time) fight through the courts in 2007, aged just 17, to be allowed travel to the UK for an abortion when she was pregnant with her baby suffering from a fatal foetal abnormality.

In her own words, Amy shares her most harrowing life experience, one that gripped the nation and made headlines even further afield.

It’s an Irish woman’s experience of carrying an unborn daughter with the serious birth defect anencephaly — a baby that would have no chance of survival outside of the womb.

Amy’s story doesn’t hit only on the trauma she endured around the time of her case in the High Court but also of the hardships of teenage life and how hers had changed dramatically, all in a flash.

After her parents’ separation, Amy moved to Drogheda with her mother where life was very different. She also began to be bullied in school.

It was easier to be friends with boys and her other escape was to rebel, and so her mum increasingly found it difficult to maintain discipline. Amy’s mum says:

“She went from a happy, stable environment where she never had to worry about anything. There was no money worries, no worries about anything.

“All of a sudden she was dumped into an adult world where we were constantly moving, the stability was gone out of her life and so she rebelled.”

With Amy’s mum having some problems of her own and feeling as though she couldn’t give Amy the best care she needed, Amy was put into foster care where her mum believed she would be well looked after and where she’d be in a more structured environment.

Amy was put into a B&B outside of Drogheda town where she felt even more isolated and where Amy’s mum says, ‘they let her do what she liked.’

Amy then became pregnant at the age of 17 and soon made social services aware of her situation, where one social worker took it upon himself to notify gardaí and the passport office that Amy was not allowed leave the country.

The problem was, Amy’s baby was destined not to make it and would slowly deteriorate inside of her womb, making Amy unwell during the High Court process she would soon endure. She says:

“Being a child, which is what I was in the High Court, all I remember is wigs.

“I didn’t know what anyone was, there was gowns and wigs and hundreds of people. The solicitors relayed stuff back to me every day but I actually got my knowledge from the news. They spoke more English than what was going on in the courtroom.

“The language in a courtroom is not what an average, normal person might understand.”

While Amy, at such a young age ‘didn’t even know what pro-choice and pro-life was,’ she believes she was used as an ‘example,’ as a scapegoat, where she felt her case was made to be ‘all about politics and religion,’ with the media even creating stories about her that were untrue.

Social workers suggested that she should claim to be suicidal in a bid to win her case and be allowed to travel. She was taken to a psychiatric hospital, however, she refused to lie and instead fought on.

Later, she would be commended by the High Court judge for her honesty throughout the entire process.

Finné’s latest episode is gut-wrenching, it’s shocking but you’ll also find yourself gobsmacked (and proud) of a young woman’s bravery and strength throughout such a traumatic process.

At last, we can hear this loving mum tell her story in her own words, an event that would help shape the course of history for women in Ireland.

On September 18, 2018, President Michael D. Higgins signed the bill for the 36th Amendment of the Constitution Act, giving effect to the 2018 referendum result.

Brought to you by TG4

Watch Finné on Wednesday nights, 9.30pm on TG4. You can also catch up on the TG4 Player and view from anywhere around the world right here.