Dublin: Ireland has voted by a landslide to liberalise some of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws in what its Prime Minister described as the culmination of “a quiet revolution” in what was one of Europe’s most socially conservative countries, reports said.
Voters in the Catholic nation were estimated to have backed the change by more than two-to-one, according to two exit polls released on Friday evening, and the government plans to bring in legislation by the end of the year.
After official results began to be announced on Saturday, politicians on both sides agreed that the referendum had passed by a large margin. Final results came out on Saturday.
Leo Varadkar, who became the country’s first openly gay Prime Minister in 2017, said that “a quiet revolution that has been taking place in Ireland over the last couple of decades”. The outcome is the latest milestone on a path of change for the country, Varadkar said. -Agencies
- No social issue has divided Ireland’s 4.8 million people as sharply as abortion, which was pushed up the political agenda by the death in 2012 of a Indian woman, 31, from a miscarriage after she was refused an abortion
- Campaigners left flowers and candles at a large mural of the woman, Savita Halappanavar, in central Dublin on Saturday
- An Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI exit poll said that voters backed change by 68% to 32% and indicated majorities in all age groups under 65 voted for change, including almost nine in every 10 voters under the age of 24
3,000 travel to britain for abortions
‘Yes’ campaigners argued that with 3,000 women travelling to Britain each year for terminations – a right enshrined in a 1992 referendum – and others ordering pills illegally online, abortion is already a reality in Ireland
New law is incredible
- It’s incredible. For all the years and years and years we’ve been trying to look after women and not been able to look after women, this means everything.
-Mary Higgins, Yes campaigner
2. For him (my son), it’s a different Ireland that we’re moving onto. It’s an Ireland that is more tolerant and more inclusive.
-Colm O’Riain, 44, Teacher
3. The public have spoken. The result appears to be resounding in favour of repealing the 8th Amendment constitutional ban on abortion. What we see is the culmination of a quiet revolution that has been taking place in Ireland over the last couple of decades.
-Leo Varadkar, Prime Minister