Final results confirm Ireland repeals the Eighth Amendment

Exit polls were largely in line with tallies and early results

Final results confirm Ireland repeals the Eighth Amendment

People from the Yes' campaign react as the results of the votes begin to come in after the referendum on the 8th Amendment of the Constitution at Dublin Castle | Image: Peter Morrison/AP/Press Association Images

Ireland has voted by an overwhelming majority to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, final results show.

Exit polls were largely in line with tallies and early results, which showed that almost all constituencies voted for the change.

The national turnout was at 64.13%.

Figures show Ireland voted to repeal the amendment with 1,429,981 votes in favour out of a total poll of 2,159,655.

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

Some 6,042 ballot papers were declared as 'Invalid'.

Donegal was the only constituency to vote against the proposal.

The final result was declared in Dublin Castle shortly after 6.00pm on Saturday.

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arrived just before 4.00pm.

Speaking after the vote, Mr Varadkar described the decision as "Ireland's second chance to treat everyone equally".

He said: "A hundred years since women got the right to vote. Today, we as a people have spoken. And we say that we trust women and we respect women and their decisions.

"For me it is also the day when we said 'No More'.

"No more doctors telling their patients there is nothing that can be done for them in their own country.

"No more lonely journeys across the Irish Sea. No more stigma. The veil of secrecy is lifted. No more isolation. The burden of shame is gone."

Speaking in his Wicklow constituency count centre, the Health Minister Simon Harris said Ireland had a new message for women facing crisis pregnancy.

"Up to this point we have been saying, 'take the plane' or 'take the boat,'" he said.

"We are now saying 'take our hand... we want to be able to care for you with compassion in our own country.'"

Speaking to Ivan Yates on Newstalk earlier, Mr Harris said he will ask the Cabinet for permission to begin drafting the legislation on Tuesday.

"I expect my officials will spend most of the summer drafting the legislation,"he said.

"I would hope - and this is indicative at this stage, I will have to do some work with my officials - but I would hope to be in a position to introduce the legislation into the Oireachtas in the autumn."

Members of the quartet Voices For Appeal embrace as they wait at Dublin Castle for the result of the referendum on the 8th Amendment | Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

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

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) said it was an "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."

While 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."