'We have a lot of catching up to do' – Saoirse-Monica Jackson on using her platform for activism in Northern Ireland

Derry Girls star Saoirse-Monica Jackson said she remains committed in promoting causes close to her heart with her new, increasingly high profile.

The 25-year-old plays Erin Quinn on the hit Channel 4 show, which takes place in 1990s during the Troubles and a recent addition of the programme to American Netflix has seen the show’s audience grow exponentially. With that newfound fame, Jackson is putting her profile to good use and and she and castmates like Nicola Coughlan and Siobhán McSweeney are particularly active on on social media and in interviews highlighting issues in Northern Ireland like legalised abortion and same sex marriage.

“By no means are we politicians in any way,” she told VIP magazine. “But I’ve always cared about issues back home and I still care. Derry Girls has highlighted that if Claire was to come out today, like she did in the show, she still wouldn’t be able to get married, which is wrong.

“And where I stand on abortion is that women should have a choice in the North. We definitely have a lot of catching up to do and it’s just a pity that we’re still waiting.”

Jackson, who was born and raised in Derry, said she takes particular pride in being of a show which portrays her native city in such a positive light; crediting Lisa McGee, who wrote the show, for bringing her vision to life.

“These are Lisa’s words and story,” she said. “My character represents her as a teenage girl and being from Derry myself, I think she’s done a tremendous job reflecting the town and the people that are from there. I’m proud to know her: she’s so humble and I just think she should be delighted with herself.

“I often say Derry Girls is like Lisa’s love letter to the town and it’s a real testament to how people ploughed through and still brought up their kids, went to work, got on with their day, had family disputes and just got on with it.”

Saoirse-Monica, who lives in London, has been splitting her time across the island of Ireland in recent months. In April, she and her mother Ruth paired up for some photshoots and red carpets and she’s currently in Dublin filming There You’ll Find Me with legendary actress Vanessa Redgrave.

“When I’m not working and back in London waiting for the next job, I try to see as much theatre and stand-up as possible,” she previously told the Sunday Times.

“I do a lot of meditation and yoga when I’m not working, partly to try and keep the anxiety under wraps and not have a freak-out. I read a lot, currently Milkman, by Anna Burns, plus a lot of scripts for auditions, but I spend a lot of time on my own at home, and it takes some getting used to.”

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