'I have no words to express my gratitude to the people of Ireland' - father of the late Savita Halappanavar
- Father of Savita Halappanavar: 'We've got justice for Savita'
- Andanappa Yalagi speaks out as initial results point to a landslide victor for the 'Yes' vote
- 'The result appears to be resounding in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment' - Varadkar
- Asked when they decided how to vote, 75pc said they 'always knew'
- The only age cohort to vote No were those aged 65 and over
- Asked what factors influenced their vote, 43pc cited people's personal stories in media
- FF is only major party whose voters rejected referendum
The father of the late Savita Halappanavar said he has "no words to express his gratitude to the people of Ireland" as the country is on the brink of repealing the Eighth Amendment.
Indian dentist Savita (31) died of sepsis in a hospital in Galway in 2012 after she was denied an abortion during miscarriage.
Her husband Praveen Halappanavar claimed she requested a termination but was refused because the baby's heart was still beating.
A midwife manager at Galway University Hospital confirmed that she told Mrs Halappanavar a termination could not be carried out because Ireland was a "Catholic country".
Speaking to the Hindustan Times today, her father Andanappa Yalagi said he was "very happy" to hear the exit poll results of the abortion referendum as Ireland heads towards a resounding "Yes" vote.
"I am very happy today," Mr Yalagi said.
"We’ve got justice for Savita. What happened to her will not happen to any other family. I have no words to express my gratitude to the people of Ireland at this historic moment."
A memorial to Savita was erected in Dublin city just hours before thousands headed to the polls throughout Friday. It attracted flowers and tributes.
According to the RTE exit poll, a total of 8pc of voters surveyed said their 'Yes' vote was influenced by Savita's story alone.
Speaking as the counting continues around the country, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "The public have spoken. The result appears to be resounding in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment.
"It’s possible even that we could carry every constituency in the country," he added.
Mr Varadkar said that men and women, almost every age group, and every social class have voted 'Yes' to repeal.
He said:"that demonstrates to me that we are a country that is not divided but a country that is united, a country that says that we respect women, that we trust women and that we support them in the choices and decisions they make."
Mr Varadkar was speaking as he arrived at the count centre in Citywest, Dublin this lunchtime.
The final tally of his own constituency, Dublin West, showed a 'Yes' vote of almost 74pc in favour of liberalising Ireland's abortion laws.
With 30 of the 40 constituencies counted, the Yes vote stands at 68.3pc
The contentious Eighth Amendment that effectively bans terminations - a constitutional provision now destined for the history books - was voted into the state's legal framework in 1983.
It is remarkable that the winning margin for anti-abortion activists 35 years ago - 67pc to 33pc - appears to have been turned on its head on Friday, and then some.
Ailbhe Smyth of the Together For Yes campaign said: "This is a vote for dignity and decency. If exit polls are reflected in the official vote count later today, this will be a moment of profound change in Ireland’s social history, a moment when the nation collectively stood up for women and for their healthcare, and voted for constitutional change."
Simon Harris also reacted to the anticipated result: "I think the people of Ireland have voted with compassion to the fore of their mind, I'm so humbled to be their Health Minister today.
"We have faced up to reality that women are leaving our country every day to access terminations.
"As long as it remained in our constitution we were saying to woman 'take the plane of take the boat', now we're saying 'take our hand'."
Solidarity TD Paul Murphy has said today’s expected result is because of a “youth-quake” and a “gender-quake”. The Dublin South-West TD said the victory was been driven by young people and women.
The likely result will be delivered three years after the country voted to legalise same-sex marriage - another landmark moment in Ireland's tectonic drift from "social conservatism" to "progressive liberalism".
Also of significant interest is the answers given when voters were asked how they decided to vote on Friday.
Some 75pc said they always knew; 8pc said following the Savita Halappanavar case; 1pc said following the Citizens' Assembly; 1pc said following the Oireacthas committee; and 12pc said during the Referendum campaign.
And it seems that very few changed their minds - the exit poll also showed that the vast majority of voters had not changed their minds over the last five years, or during the campaign itself.
The dramatic reversal in opinion seems to have been driven by the younger generations.
People under the age of 53 would not have had the chance to vote in 1983.
In this year's referendum the support of those age groups for reform seems to have been overwhelming.
Almost 90pc of voters under 25 appear to have voted Yes.
Those aged 35-49 endorsed repeal by around 73pc, the exit polls indicate.
The only age group to vote No was the over-65s, indicating that those who backed the amendment in 1983 largely retain their opposition to abortion - they are now just outnumbered by younger generations committed to reform.