Strong turnout as voters finally have their say in Eighth Amendment referendum

The public should know the official result of the Eighth Amendment referendum this afternoon after a strong turnout in the historic vote.

From early morning yesterday, polling stations across the country experienced brisk and better than usual turnout as the nation cast their votes on the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

At 12pm, voter turnout across Cork was at 16.2%. 

This compared to 13.3% at the same time of day for the general election in 2016, which is unusual for a referendum. 

By 5pm, the overall figure for Cork County had increased to 33.6% and this had again jumped to 51.76% by 8pm.

One Dublin station in Glasnevin had recorded 24% by 12pm and had increased to 62.5% by 8pm last night.

President Michael D Higgins, along with his wife, Sabina, voted in Phoenix Park yesterday morning. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste Simon Coveney, and other party leaders have been casting their ballots in centres across the country.

After casting his ballot in Dublin’s Castleknock, Mr Varadkar said: “I always get a little buzz from voting, it just feels like it is democracy in action.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar cast his vote at the polling station in Dublin. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Health Minister Simon Harris who cast his vote in Delgany, Co Wicklow, said he was encouraged by the high turnout from early on in the day and also the fact that so many people had travelled home to vote.

“It really is all to play for now we are in 24 hours where punditry becomes irrelevant because it is in the hands of the people,” he said. “I hope the people will vote for a compassionate and caring Ireland.”

Large numbers of people had travelled from all over the world including as far as Australia, South America, and Asia, to cast their vote in the referendum using the #hometovote tag on Twitter.

Casting his vote in Ballinlough, Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin said: “I think people in the current debate have a far greater sense of the complexity of life itself and the complexity that this question opens up, and I think people get the nuances that life isn’t simple, it isn’t straightforward, whereas back that in the 1980s it was almost a battle between two absolutes.

“There’s a been a significant focus on this debate in the last three weeks — I think the momentum really grew from the May Bank Holiday weekend onwards — the increased registration is a telling sign and I think that’s more towards the yes side.”

Micheàl Martin TD and his wife Mary at the polling station at St. Anthony’s Boys NS, Ballinlough, Cork. Pic: Jim Coughlan

Ballot boxes from more than 6,500 stations across the country will be opened this morning and it is expected the count will be complete by this afternoon before the official result is announced in Dublin Castle.

As voters continued to make their way to polling stations yesterday, Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín, who went against the views of his party, took to Twitter to encourage a no vote.


“The irony that the referendum on abortion is being held on International Missing Children’s Day will not be lost on many Irish people,” he said. “Those on the margins of society suffer most from abortion.”

Orla O’Connor, co-chair of Together for Yes, said she had heard of high turnout among a younger cohort in areas such as Sligo and Donegal.

“It means that young people are claiming ownership of their decisions and rightly so, they feel that they have a real say in things,” said Ms O’Connor.

With two hours still to go in voting, returning officers had recorded 51% turnout in Cork East, 54% Cork North-West and 50% Cork South-West.

While the vast majority of people voted yesterday, those living on some of the islands off the coast voted on Thursday.

Voter turnout only reached 50% on Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr while it was 45% on Inis Mór. However, Inishbofin, had a turnout of 72%.

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