Monday 16 September 2019

Final Results

Repeal the Eighth Amendment?

Yes 66.40% 1,429,981

No 33.60% 723,632

  • Constituencies declared: 40/40

Referendum Hub

Eyes of the world on Dublin Castle as 350 media jet in to report referendum results

A woman casts her vote in the abortion referendum at Scoil Thomas Lodge polling station in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell
A woman casts her vote in the abortion referendum at Scoil Thomas Lodge polling station in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The world's media has descended on Ireland for what they are reporting is a "multifaceted crystal ball of a vote".

More than 350 journalists, camera people and technicians have been accredited for the official count in Dublin Castle today. A list of outlets, seen by the Irish Independent, shows the interest stretches from the US, across Europe and even into Asia.

Among the broadcasters present in Dublin are CNN, China Global Television Network, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Al Jazeera.

Well-known newspaper titles including the 'New York Times', 'Los Angeles Times' and the 'Guardian' have flown over reporters.

The international view of the referendum is very much one of a Catholic country grappling with a most divisive social issue.

The 'New Yorker' magazine carries a detailed feature article which says the result will "help expose, for starters, how much the Catholic Church's hold in Ireland has weakened".

"It is also a distinctively post-Brexit, post-Trump vote, shadowed by the sorts of concerns about fear-stoking ads and democracy-sabotaging bots that have emerged since 2016.

"But, most of all, [the] vote will be a test of whether women in Ireland will continue to be coerced and shamed if they do not want to carry their pregnancies to term," it says.

Al Jazeera says the result is expected to be close after "a polarising campaign".

"Currently, 78pc of the Irish population is Catholic, and members of the Church are hoping their members will vote No.

"Thousands of people living abroad returned home to vote. Ireland is one of the few countries in the European Union that does not allow those abroad to vote via post or in embassies," it notes.

German national broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports: "While the 2018 debate has not repeated the caustic tone of the 1983 original, it has nonetheless reopened some old scars.

"Almost every section of society is divided; every time a leading doctor or lawyer declares support for Yes, another will emerge to lobby for No.

"Though only Irish citizens have a vote, the sensitive nature of abortion has inevitably attracted foreign attention, and each side accuses the other of befitting from foreign funding."

In Australia, the 'Sydney Morning Herald' commissioned a human rights' lawyer to draw parallels between the situation in there and in Ireland.

She stated: "The Irish referendum is an important moment to reflect upon the harm caused by one of the many forms of discrimination lived everyday by women around the world and in Australia. It is a critical time for those Australian governments with outdated abortion laws to reflect on why their laws continue to defy community values, modern clinic practice and women's rights."

The 'Atlantic' told its readers "there wasn't a street pole in Dublin without a sign on it about the referendum".

"The Church was a main driver in the push to implement the constitutional ban on abortion when the Eighth Amendment first passed 35 years ago. But faith isn't the primary reason people are still unresolved on the issue. In fact, it hasn't played much of a role at all," the magazine says.

The 'Guardian' newspaper in the UK ran a hard-hitting editorial on the referendum, saying: "The world will take heed when voters decide whether to repeal the constitutional clause that ensures terminating pregnancies is illegal in almost all circumstances."

The paper attacked the No side, saying it was "not only insulting but flagrantly untrue to suggest that women will seek abortion on a whim".

But concluded: "A righteous, shining anger at centuries of misogyny has burned in this campaign."

Irish Independent

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