Eighth Amendment referendum: What to expect in the final week of campaigning

Sean Defoe says both sides will be glad to see the finishing line

Eighth Amendment referendum: What to expect in the final week of campaigning

Eighth Amendment referendum campaign posters pictured in Dublin | Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

By the end of the week it'll all be over.

After eight weeks of campaigning, that has really been two years of campaigning (some would say even longer), the people will have their say on whether or not to liberalise Ireland's abortion laws this Friday.

The final polls of the campaign would suggest the Yes side have a comfortable lead. Certainly No campaigners have not been able to whittle down the margin as much as they had hoped.

But that does not mean they have given up - and if Brexit and Trump have taught us anything, it is not to trust the polls.

This week there are two more TV debates, with Health Minister Simon Harris accepting the challenge of Love Both's Cora Sherlock on Prime Time and Pat Kenny hosting one on TV3.

Both sides will be looking to hammer home a few key points in a last minute appeal to voters.

The Yes side will push their message that abortions are already happening in Ireland, and will say this referendum is about making that reality safe and legal.

A higher turnout will likely benefit them given where the strong support for repeal lies.

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There is lots of support for Yes among younger demographics who tend not to vote - and getting them to the polling stations on Friday could be key to the outcome.

Expect to see them push that a lot this week.

Together for Yes will also be stressing the hard cases like rape and fatal foetal abnormality and will make the case that repealing the Eighth Amendment is the only way they can be legislated for.

The No campaign meanwhile will continue to strike on a number of points. They will say a Yes vote means removing all the constitutional rights for the unborn.

Expect to hear lots about the Government's proposed 12 weeks legislation, and their belief it will mean abortions being carried out on the healthy babies of healthy mothers.

They will also be focusing on the reasons abortions will be allowed post 12-weeks and zero in on the fact terminations will be legal up to viability on the grounds of a serious risk to the mental health of the mother, which they view as tenuous.

Campaigners will claim in practice it will mean abortion will be freely available up to viability.

It has been a long campaign and both sides will be glad to see the finishing line come into view as they mount one last push.

We will know this time next week who has done enough.