No-side reaction: 'How can I have the same pride in the tricolour that I used to have?'

Update:One of the Donegal pro-life campaigners who returned Ireland's only 'No' vote has spoken of his disappointment but has said all those who voted 'No' should hold their heads high in the knowledge that they did the right thing.

Cathal Quinn from Donegal Pro-Life said he could, however, no longer have the same pride in his flag.

"Now when I look at the tricolour, what does it represent any longer? It used to represent all my ideals. It represented a constitution that was fair and decent.

"Now our constitution has been devalued, it has been so much devalued by what has happened today.

"How can I have the same pride in the tricolour that I used to have?"

He continued: "It is a sad day, but at least we can hold our heads up here in Donegal, and everybody who voted No throughout the whole country can hold their heads up that they did the right thing, that they know they did the right thing.

"We may be defeated, we may be down, but by heaven, we're not out. We may have lost the battle but the war goes on."

A No campaigner observes the count in the RDS. Picture: Collins

Update: 'The people have spoken, they're looking for a change' says Michael Healy-Rae

Independent TD for Kerry Michael Healy-Rae, who voted No, says the people have spoken and their decision has to be respected.

He said he will not obstruct legislation passing through the Dail.

"The Taoiseach did say that they would be mindful, that the legislation that would be brought before the Dáil, that it would not be like a free for all, and it would be considerate of the views of everybody.

"There is no way in my mind that it should be obstructed, held up or delayed.

"The people have spoken, they're looking for a change, they're looking for legislation and the legislators should now give them what they're looking for."

Update: Unborn stripped of their rights but campaign to protect them will continue

Unborn Irish children have been stripped of their dignity and protections but the fight to protect the live of the unborn will continue, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) and the European Life Network Ireland have said this evening.

Liam Gibson, a spokeman for SPUC, said today's vote was a "mark of shame" for those Irish voters who "with knowledge of what has happened elsewhere, chose to dishonour new human life and the place of the child in his or her mother's womb.”

Pat Buckley of the European Life Network Ireland went on to suggest that while the 'Yes' campaign will celebrate tonight the Irish pro-life movement should be proud of fighting a vigorous and imaginative campaign.

He went on: "There can never be social progress if we allow in a mentality which says that we are gods who decide, on our own personal criteria, who lives and who dies.

“We will not be giving in to despair. We are starting again now and we will make this vote a wake-up call to all of us to renew our efforts consistently and compassionately to protect innocent lives”, he concluded.

Update: A dark day in which a protection for both women and unborn has been lost

A vital protection and declaration of dignity for both women and their unborn children has been removed from the Irish constitution on a dark day for Ireland, according to the 'The Both Lives Matter' campaign group.

Dawn McAvoy, a co-founder of the Northern Ireland based group, went on to suggest that the suggestion that women "have won today" because they now might have the choice to end their unborn child's life was a "sad" vision of our future.

"This has been a difficult campaign and we commend all those who advocated for both lives. We also acknowledge there are very strong feelings on all sides and many well-intentioned people voted yes.

"While many across these islands see the result today as the most compassionate and progressive path that the Irish people could have chosen, many others will see things from entirely the opposite perspective.

"Already eyes are turning to Northern Ireland. Democracy and devolution must be respected and the people of Northern Ireland must not have legislation imposed upon them, from either Westminster or Dublin."

Ms McAvoy went on to suggest a conversation was now needed on how we best support women and unborn children in pregnancy crisis on the island of Ireland.

"In the Republic now is the time for the government and the Yes campaign to match the energy and resource they put into their campaign for abortion with providing real choices for women in pregnancy crisis.

"Politicians on both sides of the border must address the structural and systemic inequalities which lead women to believe that abortion is their only choice. With humility, we can all now come together around this common goal. Always and especially now, we continue to advocate that both lives matter."

Update: Activists for a NO vote say their campaign against abortion is not over.

Katie Ascough of Love Both has said today is a "sad day", but not the end.

"To everyone who voted No, there is plenty of reason for hope. This campaign as uncovered a dynamic grassroots and a new generation of Irish people prepared to stand up and fight for the right to life," she said.

"We commit ourselves to working towards the day when the lives of mothers and children are fully supported and protected in Ireland."

She declined to accept questions after reading out her statement.

Update: Pro-life TDs say they will not block abortion legislation

Cork South–Central TD Michael McGrath, who campaigned for a No vote, has said he will not block the forthcoming bill on abortion.

Deputy McGrath (pictured below) added that he believed the majority of Oireachtas members would accept the will of the people.

"I don't intend to oppose or block the legislation," he said. "The people have spoken emphatically. It's now going to have to be given effect in the Oireachtas."

He would not be drawn on whether he would abstain or vote for the legislation.

"While it may not have been a vote directly on the Government's Bill, people voted in full knowledge of what the bill contains. I think in effect it is an endorsement of the Government's bill," he added.

Update: 'Darkest day in history'

Pro-life campaigner Tim Jackson (who heckled Minister Simon Harris earlier this week) has called today the darkest day in Irish history.

"Considering the hundreds of thousands of children who will not see the light of day (as a result of this referendum)... it's a very, very dark day - the darkest in Irish history," he said.

"I don't think we can look at the flag or Proclamation and consider ourselves as having stood up for the people who gave us a bit of freedom. We've thrown it back in their faces." He said he was ashamed to call himself Irish.

"For those who find themselves in crisis over the coming years, please know that we're here to help you, and we're here to help your child," he said, adding the No campaign would have to "pick up the pieces" and focus on over-turning this "totally unjust law" in the years ahead.

He said politicans and the media had "conspired to bring about a situation in which Irish children will die for generations to come...It's horrendous".

He said he was thankful Donegal had "seen sense and rejected this Government's proposals" (based on tallies), but that it was not much consolation given the national vote for Yes.

Update: ' There's no victory when what's happening amounts to killing'

Long-time pro-life campaigner Fintan Joseph Power has said he thinks the Yes landslide is a sad day for Waterford, where he is based, and for the country.

Mr Power has been involved in the pro-life campaign for about 40 years.

He said: "We now have a group of people in this society who are quite happy to see unborn children being killed. I think that's very sad. There is no victory when what's happening amounts to killing.

"We're asking our doctors and nurses to save one life in one bed and to kill another life in another bed."

Update: Pro-choice Senator Ronán Mullen has said: "The pro-life movement has grown through this campaign and will become very busy now in lots of ways."

Speaking in the Roscommon count centre, whoich is following the national trend of a strong Yes vote, he said he will "absolutely not" support legislation allowing unrestricted abortion to 12 weeks when it comes before the Dáil.

"My job is to promote a just society, care for mothers and for their unborn children."

Looking back over the pro-life campaign, he said it had been a "brilliant" one, run and supported by a "very vibrant minority".

Update: Fianna Fáil's Mary Butler, who camapaigned for a No vote and took part in the Claire Byrne Live debate on that platform said: "I have no regrets...This is something I fundamentally believe in."

She acknowledged that it seemed the historically strong urban-rural divide did not appear to hold true in this referendum, and said it was clear a fundamental change had taken place in the country.

She said she would not attempt to halt the upcoming legislation, but stopped short of saying she would vote in support of it.

"I reserve judgement on that," she said.

A No campaigner observes the count in the RDS. Picture: Collins

Fianna Fáil TD Bobby Aylward (Carlow Kilkenny) said: "It looks like a landslide, or a rout - whatever way you want to put it. I was expecting this from some time out now - of course I didn't say that.

"Let the people decide. It looks like the people of Ireland want change and I as a democrat have to accept that.

"From a personal point of view, you just have to accept the will of the people and go along with that. I have my personal, pro-life views," he said. "We move on now. (Abortion) is not the only issue (we have to deal with); I stood by my personal point of view and I'm glad I did, but again I accept the will of the people."

Earlier: Yes landslide 'a tragedy of historic proportions'

Save the 8th, which was campaigning for a No vote in the referendum, has said the apparent landslide vote in favour of repealing the 8th Amendment is "a tragedy of historic proportions".

An Irish Times/Ipsos exit poll of 4,000 voters last night has predicted a 68-32% victory for the yes side to repeal the eighth amendment. A second RTE/Behaviour and Attitudes exit poll of 3,000 voters has also predicted a 69.4-30.6% victory for the yes side.

Tallies as boxes are opened around the country are confirming the strong Yes vote, so far.

In a statement, Save the 8th said: "A wrong does not become right simply because a majority support it."

Save the 8th said it would oppose up-coming legislation to allow abortions up to 12 weeks, and in certain circumstances thereafter, and warned the Government's plans for a GP-led service were doomed to fail.

"If and when abortion clinics are opened in Ireland, because of the inability of the Government to keep their promise about a GP-led service, we will oppose that as well," the statement reads, concluding:

Every time an unborn child has his or her life ended in Ireland, we will oppose that, and make our voices known. Abortion was wrong yesterday. It remains wrong today. The constitution has changed, but the facts have not.

Spokesman John McGuirk (pictured below) said he did not think there would be many people on the No side who did not accept the referendum result, but that they were entitled to continue to think abortion was wrong.

In a statement this morning, the pro-life Love Both group said the result "paints a bleak picture" for modern Ireland.

Group member Dr Ruth Cullen said: “If the exit polls are borne out today, it will represent a sea-change on abortion in Ireland and sadly pave the way for an abortion regime that has nothing to do with healthcare and everything to do with abortion on demand.

“As a group, we stand over all the claims we made during the campaign about what repeal would mean. It’s most regrettable the Taoiseach, Minister for Health and some leading medics received a free pass from scrutiny in pushing for abortion, thereby depriving the public the opportunity to hear them defend their pro-abortion positions.

We will hold the Taoiseach to his promise that repeal would only lead to abortion in very restrictive circumstances. He gave his word on this, now he must deliver on it. No doubt many people voted for repeal based on the Taoiseach’s promises in this regard.

Similarly, Love Both member Cora Sherlock wrote on Twitter last night: "Exit polls, if accurate, paint a very sad state of affairs. But those who voted No should take heart. Abortion on demand would deal Ireland a tragic blow but the pro-life movement will rise to any challenge it faces. Let's go into tomorrow with this in mind," she said.


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