The Countess is a group of men and women whose mission is to promote and protect the best interests of the women and children of Ireland. This was a cherished ideal of the founders of the Irish State, including our namesake, Countess Markiewicz, a minister in the first Dáil and the first female cabinet minister in Europe.
Currently, our primary focus is on reinstating the “medical model” for those who wish to change their gender. In the 2015 Gender Recognition Act, the “medical model” was rescinded in favour of the “self-ID model”. Prior to 2015, it was necessary to undergo psychological and medical assessment/ intervention in order to be granted a Gender Recognition Certificate, allowing one to live and be recognised under the law as the opposite gender. The 2015 Act changed the medical requirement to a simple declaration of one’s own sincere intention to live as the opposite gender. There is no longer any requirement to be assessed, and one can simply apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate online to be legally recognised as the opposite sex. This process is known as “self-identification”, or self-ID.
This seismic change in Irish law, with its far-reaching implications for women and children’s rights and protections on the basis of sex, was quietly signed into law in July 2015, two months after the Marriage Equality Referendum.
Since the launch of The Countess in September 2020, we have gained 15,000 followers across social media, with 12,000 followers on Twitter alone. We have a growing mailing list, which we use to keep people informed about the implications and unforeseen abuses of the self-ID process, such as convicted sex offenders being granted Gender Recognition Certificates, allowing them the legal right to be treated as women, and to be transferred to the women’s wing of Limerick Prison, or a man in his forties playing on a ladies’ GAA team, and using the ladies changing rooms, or school toilets being upgraded to include all genders, effectively making them mixed sex.
We are an effective campaign group, whose members include doctors, lawyers, writers, IT specialists, students and anyone who is willing to contribute their time and skills to further our mission. We are volunteer-led, self-funded and not affiliated with any political party or religion.
Over the past two years, we have stopped the rollout of materials promoting self-ID to schoolchildren across Dublin. We have conducted a Red C poll which shows that the vast majority of the Irish public are unaware of the implications of self-ID, and that most people wish to maintain single sex spaces.
This summer, our campaign #TheseWordsBelongToUs forced the Government to reverse their decision to remove the word “woman” in favour of “birthing person” in Irish maternity legislation.
We have working groups focused on raising awareness of the harmful impact of self-ID on sports clubs, youth clubs such as girl guides, schools, prisons, and legislation.
Our mailing list comprises concerned parents and concerned citizens, who can use our template letters to make their own voices heard.
If you’d like to show support or get involved, we’d love to hear from you – get in touch.