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

Analysis: Truly remarkable the Irish people have reversed their position so starkly in 35 years
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar placing his vote earlier today.

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.

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
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.
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.

More on this topic

'Together for Yes' celebrate anniversary of abortion referendum with Dublin event'Together for Yes' celebrate anniversary of abortion referendum with Dublin event

Together for Yes campaigners 'overcome and thrilled' at inclusion on TIME 100 listTogether for Yes campaigners 'overcome and thrilled' at inclusion on TIME 100 list

#RepealThe8th tops trending topics on Twitter in 2018#RepealThe8th tops trending topics on Twitter in 2018

Abortion: Wait rather than risk a tragedyAbortion: Wait rather than risk a tragedy


More in this Section

FAI’s debts could surpass €55mFAI’s debts could surpass €55m

Someone is €1 milllion richer following Euromillions drawSomeone is €1 milllion richer following Euromillions draw

Johnson and Corbyn clash on Northern Ireland in TV head-to-head election debateJohnson and Corbyn clash on Northern Ireland in TV head-to-head election debate

Teen motorcyclist killed in road traffic collision in CabraTeen motorcyclist killed in road traffic collision in Cabra


Lifestyle

This Christmas remember that there is no such thing as cheap food.Buy local: Use your LOAF

As we wait, eager and giddy, a collective shudder of agitated ardor ripples through the theatre, like a Late, Late Toyshow audience when they KNOW Ryan’s going to give them another €150 voucher. Suddenly, a voice booms from the stage. Everyone erupts, whooping and cheering. And that was just for the safety announcement.Everyman's outstanding Jack and the Beanstalk ticks all panto boxes

Every band needs a Bez. In fact, there’s a case to be made that every workplace in the country could do with the Happy Mondays’ vibes man. Somebody to jump up with a pair of maracas and shake up the energy when things begin to flag.Happy Mondays create cheery Tuesday in Cork gig

More From The Irish Examiner