Groups welcome “historic victory for women’s rights” in Eighth Amendment vote

The Yes side claimed a “decisive” victory in the polls

Groups welcome “historic victory for women’s rights” in Eighth Amendment vote

Pictured are (left to right) Genevieve O’Mahony (25), Sinead Williams (26), Elieen Lynch (27) and Lucy O’ Shea (28) from Dublin in the RDS, Dublin at the Irish referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment | Image: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

Updated: 19.50

There has been widespread welcome of the Eighth Amendment result from human rights groups.

A steady stream of tallies and results showed a huge majority of people voted to repeal the law which prohibits abortion.

In the end, 1,429,981 people voted in favour of repeal.

The final result saw 66.40% of the electorate vote Yes and 33.60% vote No.

While Donegal was the only constituency to vote against the proposal.

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has welcomed what it calls the "overwhelming" vote.

Executive director Liam Herrick said: "This resounding and emphatic vote by the Irish people to repeal the Eighth Amendment is an historic victory for women's rights.

"This vote demonstrates that Ireland in 2018 is a more caring and compassionate society that recognises the harm and terrible injustice that has been caused by this constitutional provision.

"Ireland will now be able for the first time to introduce nuanced legislation which can address the full complexity of pregnancy in a manner compatible with the rights and dignity of Irish women."

The ICCL campaigned against the insertion of the Eighth Amendment into the Constitution back in 1983.

Paying tribute to those who had fought for this result over the past 35 years, Mr Herrick added: "This referendum result was won through the leadership of a powerful grassroots movement which fought hard to secure a referendum vote over many years, and which evolved into an effective and focused Together For Yes political campaign over the past few months.”

Amnesty International said: "Today the people of Ireland sent a powerful message to women and girls that their human rights and reproductive health matter.

"In this historic referendum, the Irish people have resoundingly voted to end the almost total constitutional ban on abortion.

"While the final count is not yet confirmed, it is clearly a decisive Yes result".

"A message to Northern Ireland"

Colm O’Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: "This is such an important vote for women’s dignity and bodily autonomy.

"It shows what sort of country Ireland really is - one where people care.

"At last, Ireland is free to create a legal and medical framework for abortion access that respects their human rights".

"The people of Ireland have recognised the harm and suffering the Eighth Amendment has caused, and voted to end this.

"They have rejected the idea that women should be valued only for their reproductive capacity.

"We see a new consensus among people in Ireland, and the Government, that women and girls who need abortion services should be cared for at home.”

Mr O’Gorman added: "Today’s vote sends a message to Northern Ireland, El Salvador, Poland and other places were the struggle continues, that change is possible.

"States currently considering restricting abortion access should take a lesson from Ireland.

"The Eighth Amendment was a failed experiment. It never actually stopped abortions, just forced hundreds of thousands of women and girls into having unsafe abortions. It inflicted 35 years of harm and anguish.”