Eighth amendment campaigners take part in opposing rallies

Thousands took to the streets of Dublin today

Thousands of people are taking part in demonstrations in Dublin this afternoon.

The event ‘Rally for Life’ event reportedly saw thousands of anti-abortion campaigners calling for the Eighth Amendment to be preserved.

It follows Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s announcement that a referendum will be held on the issue at some point in 2018.

A pro-choice counter-rally was also held in the city - with campaigners calling for the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment to recommend a referendum immediately following yesterday’s publication of the Citizen’s Assembly recommendations.

Following five weekends of meetings, Assembly members voted that Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution should not be retained in full and should be replaced or amended.

The Assembly recommended that the article should be replaced with a constitution provision explicitly authorising the Oireachtas to legislate in order to address the abortion issue, the rights of the unborn and of the pregnant woman.

Members also called for the decriminalisation of abortion - including the use of the abortion pill - and the recognition and protection of female reproductive rights and autonomy.

The recommendations will now be debated by the cross-party committee with a referendum expected next year.

The anti-abortion rally was organised by the Life Institute – with members saying they are “horrified” at the Citizens’ Assembly recommendations.

These demonstrators – on both sides of the debate – told Newstalk why they were inspired to come to Dublin City Centre this afternoon.

Traffic delays were expected in the city centre as the march made it way from Parnell Square to Merrion Square.

The march comes two weeks after thousands of pro-choice campaigners marched through the city.