GoldenPlec doesn't normally get involved in politics but the upcoming referendum on the 8th Amendment is just too important to ignore so we set about talking to Irish musicians about the referendum and their hopes and fears for the campaign and beyond.

Allen Blighe, 40 from Sligo is the driving force behind the critically acclaimed The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock who recently released 'Lockout' a concept album. covering the 1913 lockout.

What way are you voting and why?

I'll be voting yes in the referendum to repeal the 8th amendment. I'm voting yes because the current legislation is irresponsibly ignorant of the realities of pregnancy and puts women's lives at risk. The UN has repeatedly criticised our laws as "inhuman".

As some of the most restrictive laws in the world they demonstrate and adherence to dogma rather than any realism or compassion.

This vote is not a vote for abortion, but a vote to allow women to have a choice. And this choice could literally be between their own life and death as we have seen with Savita Hallapanaver or Michelle Harte or a choice in how they address the trauma of fatal foetal abnormality. It will also give flexibility to families to deal with unique situations such as the tragedy where a brain dead woman was kept on life support to keep an viable foetus alive.

Have you been on a personal journey to come to this decision?

Yes, but I get a sense that a large section of the country has been on this journey too.

As a kid I think I had a sense of being "pro-life", but the X case in 1992, when I was 14, really brought the ugly reality of the 8th amendment to the fore. They way that family were treated was appalling. And this was only the tip of tragedy and trauma caused by this legislation.

From that point onward I think I realised that punitive abortion laws were more about control of reproductive rights than actual compassion for the unborn. I watched successive judges and politicians fudge the issue.

I struggle to remember the 2002 referendum, where an attempt was made to make Irish abortion laws even more restrictive, where suicide would have been ruled out as grounds for abortion. I hope I voted against it but cannot be certain. I take from this that one must be engaged and involved in what's going on in your country, no matter how much distaste you might have for the political parties or the political process or your inaction may allow things to get worse.

Years later in 2012 Savita Halappanavar died in shocking circumstances, where in any normal circumstances, there would have been a medical intervention to save her life. We were expecting our first child around this time, and it was a real eye opener to the danger people's lives were being placed in due to our restrictive abortion laws. These laws are not just cruel, they are dangerous.

Have you had difficult conversations about this issue? If so what advice would you give people who are hesitant to have these conversations?

The truth is I've only had one difficult discussion so far where I was challenged about what the 8th should be replaced by and I was stumped in that moment. In retrospect, as I am not a woman it does seem ridiculous that I was asked this question.

However, I think many undecided voters are unsure of voting yes as they may have some fears about what laws will ultimately replace it. I think understanding people’s fears about late term abortions is important, as this is something that the pro-life campaign tend to exploit. A difficult conversation with friends and family over repealing the 8th may tend to come down to discussions about foetal development and it’s good to be informed about this.

Is there anything you’d like to say to undecided voters? 

If you are undecided on how to vote, you may be hesitant to vote yes for many reasons:

You may feel that this vote is a vote for abortion. This isn't, this is the first step to give women the right to choose to have an abortion, and many choose not to. In cases of fatal foetal abnormalities and health risks to women's lives this vote will pave the way for options, giving women dignity and safety which they are currently denied.

You may feel a dislike of the message based on the messengers. I hear some people complaining about being dictated to by liberal Dublin types, or political insiders who pick and choose their compassionate caused to suit their own agendas. As the repeal message is being adopted by high profile media personalities and main stream political parties, you may not like being told how to vote by these people, but the important thing here is vote to do the right thing, to look after our own people, at home, and one’s gripes with Varadkar or whoever should not come into it.

You may feel overwhelmed by the questions moral questions posed by the pro-life movement using exploitative pictures of foetuses, or emotive language about heart beats and so on. Here it is worth reading about foetal development to inform yourself about the milestones in development. Even if you feel uncomfortable with later term abortion, this vote is not a vote for "unrestricted" abortion, it is an opportunity to finally stop exporting our problems and to deal with them in a responsible way.