Freedom Machine

“Freedom Machine” launch by the Dublin Cycling Campaign
Press Release 7/03/2018

On the 8th of March on International Women‟s Day we celebrate #Votail100 and the historical link between the bicycles and the emancipation of women. Launch of „Freedom Machine‟ the theme for the Dublin Cycling Campaign’s participation in this year‟s St. Patrick‟s Day Parade.

Venue: Bewley’s Cafe, Grafton Street, join us for tea, coffee and a chat about Freedom Machine.

When: 8th March 11am Starting at Bewley’s Café where Hanna and Frank Sheehy Skeffington used to meet regularly to discuss feminism and politics, Bewley’s Café and the Quakers have a historical link with the Irish Suffragette movement.

Photo opportunity Outside Leinster House 11.30pm Donna Cooney will be joined by Joanna Donnelly (MetEireann #andacyclist)) and Artist Laragh Pittman. After the launch and refreshments we will cycle in suffragette costume with replica handcrafted banners to Leinster house Kildare Street, where at 11.30 Senator Ivana Bacik (convenor of Oireachtas Cycling Group) will join us to say a few words of support. In celebration of one hundred years since women “got the vote”. #Votail100 #VotesforWomen FreedomMachineWebsite “I’m really looking forward to participating in the Parade. Combining my passion for cycling with the celebration of the victory of the vote is something I had never considered. I’ve been cycling around Dublin since school, I’ve never been a fan of public transport, there’s nothing like the freedom cycling can give you. Up on the bike and away you go. And letting my daughter see me out there, celebrating in this way makes me delighted.” Joanna Donnelly Meteorologist and she say’s “all we need is fine weather and that’s not a problem…” ‘I am delighted to support the idea of the ‘Freedom Machine’, or ‘Suffragette Cyclists’, who will be taking part in the St Patrick’s Day Parade dressed in suffragette costumes. I think it’s very timely to do this in 2018, as this year marks the centenary of women’s suffrage in Ireland – it is 100 years since the passage of the Representation of the People Act which first gave women the right to vote, and December will mark the 100th anniversary of the 1918 General Election in which Constance Markievicz was elected as the first woman TD or MP. The suffragette cyclists will not only mark this important centenary, but will also play a vital role in encouraging more women to take to the bicycle and to promote cycling generally – as a committed cyclist, I am really delighted to support them.’ Senator Ivana Bacik
Freedom Machine from the Dublin Cycling Campaign.
In St. Patrick‟s Day Parade 2018 we will have one hundred women of all ages cycling in our Freedom Machine pageant in suffragette costume.

We celebrate the important historical role of bicycles for suffragettes and the emancipation of Women.
The theme for the Dublin Cycling Campaign is titled #FreedomMachine.

Donna Cooney, an Artist, Activist, Campaigner and Cyclist developed the Freedom Machine concept and also co-ordinated the team of Artists, makers and participants in the Dublin Cycling Campaign for the St. Patrick‟s Day Parade 2018. “Freedom Machine has one hundred women of all ages in suffragette costume with their bicycles in the parade, hand crafted replica period banners, sashes and placards, followed by a smaller group of their family, supporters and members of the Dublin Cycling Campaign on bicycles and cargo bikes”. “Many women cyclists would still claim those feelings of self-reliance and independence, but sadly in 2018 the number of female cyclists is dwindling, with three times more men than women choosing to cycle” “As we parade on our freedom machines we hope to encourage more women to enjoy leaving their homes and return freely and safely on their bicycles”. Donna Cooney Artist and Coordinator The American civil rights leader, Susan B Anthony, wrote in 1896:”I think the bicycle has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world. I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes the picture of untrammelled womanhood.” We are joined in the parade by Senator Ivana Bacik Chair of Votail100, Joanna Donnelly Meteorologist who are daily cyclists and by ninety eight other women who enjoy their freedom on their bicycles. We also have the support and endorsement of Micheline Sheehy Skeffington granddaughter of Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, Senators Alice Mary Higgins and Catherine Martin TD of the Votail 100 Dail committee. We are generously supported by Dublin City Council in funding this event. We are grateful to Jim Wolfe of Wolfe cycles for the loan of High Nellies.

Contact Donna Cooney: M: 083 3317190 E: [email protected] Freedom Machine Project Website and please use #FreedomMachine

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