Dublin ~ Sunday May 27 2018
Repeal the Eighth Amendment?
Yes 66.40% 1,429,981
No 33.60% 723,632
- Constituencies declared: 40/40
Voters put aside personal opinions to allow women make their own choices
Exit poll data shows even those against abortion voted in favour of choice
ACTION STATIONS: Tally woman Della McGuinness during the referendum count at The Hyde Centre in Roscommon town.(Steve Humphreys)
By Philip Ryan
The vast majority of people who voted Yes in last Friday's historic referendum on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution did so because they believed women should have the choice to decide whether or not they should have an abortion.
In many cases, people put aside their own personal feelings on terminating pregnancies and decided to vote instead to allow women to make their own decisions.
Even voters who strongly oppose the introduction of what the No campaign describe as "abortion on demand" decided it was none of their business what other people do when faced by crisis pregnancies.
The referendum result showed Irish people are not willing to make judgments on their neighbours who may be struggling with difficult personal circumstances.
Personal religious and personal moral views were parked and voters decided it was not for them to impose their views on anyone else.
RTE's exit poll, which was carried out on polling day, confirmed this is how the people of Ireland now view abortion.
The Behaviour & Attitudes survey showed 84pc of people who voted Yes did so because they believed women should have the right to choose.
Voters emphatically voted in favour of giving women the freedom to decide if they should make the difficult decision to have an abortion.
Dublin ~ Sunday May 27 2018
Abortion vote shows Catholic Church is losing influence in Ireland - archbishop
- 'Ireland is now conforming to a western liberal democracy... people are taking an a la carte approach to Catholicism' - Archbishop Eamon Martin
- It is a new time and a change of culture, but it is not something that is out of the blue' - archbishop
- Certain people of all faiths will be interested to hear what Pope Francis has to say in August
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin. (Steve Humphreys)
By Denise Calnan
The church's influence in Ireland is under threat after a landslide victory for the 'Yes' campaign in the abortion referendum, according to the Archbishop of Dublin.
Dr Diarmuid Martin told mass-goers this morning that many will see yesterday's vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment as an indication that the Church is now widely regarded with indifference and as having a marginal role in the formation of culture in Ireland.
He also said he Church may be seen as "lacking in compassion".
Dr Martin said the Church must now renew its commitment to support life and not just in statements, but in deeds to reflect Jesus' compassion and care, RTE reports.
He said this includes helping women in difficult situations to "choose life".
"Pro-life means radically rediscovering in all our lives a special love for the poor that is the mark of the followers of Jesus," Dr Martin said at the mass where he ordained four deacons at the national seminary in Maynooth.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin tweeted yesterday saying he will give thanks to those who "made such a huge effort to remind us that in pregnancy we are dealing with two lives - both in need of love, respect and protection."
He added; " “Every human life remains beautiful, every human life remains precious. Every human life remains sacred. #ChooseLife."
Speaking on RTE Radio One this afternoon, the archbishop said the referendum's results confirm that Ireland is "now conforming to a western liberal democracy".
"We do appear to have obliterated the rights of all unborn children's right to life.
"Our country now appears to be on the brink of legislating a liberal abortion regime.
"It is a new time and a change of culture, but it is not something that is out of the blue.
"Over many years, we have seen a drift away from practices of our faith in our congregations and parishes and a lower degree of involvement from people.
"This abortion referendum now confirms we are in a new space.
"This didn't come out of the blue and it is not something new for us," he added.
Responding to the church's level of involvement in the abortion referendum campaign, the archbishop said they were "very actively involved" by explaining to their congregations the church's teachings on the right to life.
"In January, we called on Catholics to be missionaries for life in their own communities," he said.
"We were overwhelmed by people who made a huge effort to remind people that in pregnancy we are dealing with two lives.
"We were humbled by the lay women and laymen, many parents themselves, who became the voice for the voiceless children.
"I think their profile is more important than ever in Ireland."
The results from the exit polls "didn't surprise" the archbishop, who said he is aware there are now three distinct groups in Ireland's society.
"We are well aware week to week by looking at our congregation [what is happening in Ireland].
"There are three groups; the committed minority, the remnants of people who are deeply committed to the teachings; a large group of people we see from the Census who are nominally and culturally Catholic and self identify as Catholic and retain an affiliation with the Church is some ways but have drifted away from regularly practicing their faith.
"And then we have a third group who have quite consciously rejected the church and are hostile to the teachings of the church.
"The church is now a new space and we've been there for some time," he continued.
"Pope Francis said way back in 1979 that Ireland is at a crossroads. I think what this referendum affirms is that Ireland is now conforming to a western liberal democracy, especially on issues like abortion, same sex, civil partnership, marriage and divorce.
"People are self-identifying as Catholic. And I hear people saying they're Catholic but they don't accept the church's teachings. The reality is people are taking an a la carte approach."
The archbishop said he doesn't think the referendum results will be new to the Pope, and said he is still certain people of all faiths will be interested to see what he has to say in August.
"I would hope that our congregations will remain a creative minority and not an irrelevant minority," he added.
Dublin ~ Monday May 28 2018
It took 35 years to build this stunning result
Cheers and tears greeted the verdict – a just reward for decades fighting the good fight
By Miriam Lord
A single rose is held aloft at Dublin Castle as the crowd gathered to celebrate the Yes vote. (Nick Bradshaw)
It took 35 years to build a landslide.
Repealing the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution was neither quick nor easy, despite what the margin of difference might say.
Sixty-six per cent said “Yes”. Makes it look simple.
But that two-thirds majority conceals hard history and hard-fought battles behind a stunning final result.
Woman by woman, story by story, year upon year, day after day. The rocks and pebbles of countless unjust ordeals and small personal tragedies piled up after each furtive trip to Liverpool and beyond.
Brave campaigners for basic abortion rights did everything they could to increase the pressure, their efforts ignored and condemned by priests and politicians and that tiresome class of pious people who live in terror of the slippery slope.
They thought they could hold back a landslide. On Friday, gravity kicked in. The slippery slope did for them in the end.
The Eighth Amendment, which guaranteed a foetus the same right to life as the woman carrying it, is gone from the Constitution. Good riddance to it. It brought nothing but difficulty and despair to Irish women in times when they desperately needed proper care and compassion at home.
It was a wonderful morning on Saturday in the RDS when the boxes were opened and the votes counted. It was a wonderful afternoon in Dublin Castle when crowds filled the courtyard to hear the official declaration. It was a wonderful day for Irish women.
A day made even better in the happy knowledge that the vast majority of Irish men are looking out for them and want only the best for them. By voting in their droves to repeal, they placed the concerns of women far above the fears of ideologically-motivated crusaders who prize saving souls above having a heart.
With repeal looking the likely outcome, there were calls from some quarters for a muted and dignified response. Perhaps it was the reason why there was neither screen nor public address system for the huge crowd at the castle.