Referendum result: Abortion in Ireland

Irish citizens voted by a clear two to one majority yesterday to reform the Republic’s constitution, paving the way for parliamentary legislation to permit abortion for the first time in the state’s history.

The strength of the vote in favour of repealing the 8th amendment to the constitution, which banned abortion, was overwhelming across all classes, ages and regions. Nationally a total of 66.4 per cent were in favour of replacing the 8th amendment (in place since 1983) with a new clause allowing legislation to regulate abortion. Out of 40 constituencies nationwide, only Donegal in the extreme north-west voted No, and that by a narrow margin.

A turnout of 64.1 per cent was high enough to give legitimacy to the exercise, with many Irish expatriates making long journeys home to vote.

The result is a resounding political triumph for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of Fine Gael, who has only held the premier’s office for a year and who campaigned strongly for a Yes vote. He intends to promptly introduce legislation to implement the referendum result. Varadkar may also be tempted to put an early end to the minority governing arrangement under which the main opposition Fianna Fail gives passive support to his administration, and call a General Election.


36th Amendment
Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy
(Repeal of 8th Amendment)


YES 1,429,981 (66.40 per cent)
NO 723, 632(33.60 per cent)


Eligible voters: 3,367,556
Valid votes: 2,153,613
Spoilt votes: 6,042 (0.30 per cent)
Turnout: 64.13 per cent.


Source: Irish Times. Full results here.