Analysis: Truly remarkable the Irish people have reversed their position so starkly in 35 years

All it seems has changed, changed utterly.

In 1983, the Irish people by a two-to-one margin voted to insert the controversial Eighth Amendment into the Constitution.

By guaranteeing the equal right to life of a mother and her unborn, Article 40.3.3 has become the most divisive social issue in modern Ireland.

Tonight, it seems, that change is afoot.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar placing his vote earlier today.

While the ballot papers will not be counted formally until tomorrow, one of two exit polls to be published tonight shows the country has by a massive landslide voted to remove the ban on abortion from the Consitution and allow politicians set the law.

The poll, published by the Irish Times, suggested that the margin of victory for the Yes side in today’s referendum will be 68% to 32%.

It found the highest Yes vote was in Dublin, where 77% of voters backed the proposals, the poll predicted.

The poll suggested that the margin of victory in the rest of Leinster outside Dublin will be 66% to 34%, while Munster will also break 66-34 in favour of repeal.

Repeal the Eighth mural in Dublin

Even Connacht-Ulster, expected to be the bulwark of the anti-repeal vote, voted in favour of the constitutional change by 59% to 41%, the poll finds.

The poll also finds that women voted in favour of the proposal by a massve margin, with 70% voting in favour and 30% voting against. Support amongst men was weaker, though still convincing, at 65% to 35%.

As we are reporting, there were concessions from the No side earlier today before polls even closed, a reflection of the gulf in the vote.

But it is truly remarkable that the Irish people have reversed their position so starkly in 35 years.

Protest for Repeal in Cork, March earlier this year.

Bouyed undoubtedly by the 2015 result in the Marriage Equality referendum, those advocating for social change felt the warm breeze of momentum behind them.

But the matter will now enter the Oireachtas and it will be up to the politicians to bring the necessary laws into being.

Such a mandate will now clearly encourage Simon Harris to move swiftly on the legislation and makes it hard for those politicians who advocated No to stand in its way.

Truly incredible.


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