New legislation could be brought in by end of the year if vote passes
The Government intends to enact legislation on abortion by the end of the year if the referendum passes, however its passage may be obstructed if enough TDs vote against it.
The Taoiseach said Cabinet would publish the bill before the Dáil breaks up this summer, and allow for debates and voting before the end of the year.
"We anticipate having the legislation published before the summer recess and having it through the Dáil and Seanad and enacted by the end of the year," Mr Varadkar said.
He was speaking at the final event of the Fine Gael members' campaign ahead of the country going to the polls this morning.
He called on all members of the Oireachtas to vote in favour of the legislation, even those opposed to it, because they will be under obligation to implement the will of the Irish people.
"I hope and trust the vast majority of TDs will respect the decision of the Irish people if it is a Yes vote. I do think the Irish people are going in to the referendum with their eyes open; they understand what it means to repeal the Eighth Amendment and they understand the proposals that are being put forward by the Government on foot of the recommendations of the all-party committee and the citizens assembly", said Mr Varadkar.
Notwithstanding the fact that the referendum result will only be known tomorrow, there are still several stumbling blocks ahead for the passing of the legislation.
The majority of Fianna Fáil TDs are against repealing the Eighth Amendment, and many may vote accordingly, regardless of the referendum result. At least three have indicated this.
Mary Butler, Fianna Fáil TD for Waterford, said she would actively "halt" the passage of the proposed legislation which she said was "too extreme".
Ms Butler said she would allow parts of the bill dealing with cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality, but said "I have serious issue for abortion just because you don't want the baby.
"I personally will not hold up legislation for rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormality. I will, however, scrutinise the bill word for word, line by line," she said. "This goes too far, it's too extreme."
She took a swipe at Children's Minister Katherine Zappone for taking a pro-choice stance.
"As I call her, the Minister for Children, not for the unborn," said Ms Butler.
Éamon Ó Cuív, Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West, said on RTÉ's 'Six One' last week that he would never support 12-week legislation. Yesterday, he said he fears that in 'four or five years' a legislature providing for abortion on demand could get in to office by way of a partnership deal.
Dundalk Fianna Fáil TD Declan Breathnach, a staunch opponent of the legislation, said "common sense should prevail" when asked his intention.