'We voted to look reality in the eye and we did not blink' - Leo Varadkar on landslide referendum result
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar described the referendum result as a “quiet revolution” that came 100 years after women were given the right to vote.
With 66pc of voters backing the Government's proposal to allow abortions in Ireland, Mr Varadkar said: “We have voted to look reality in the eye and we did not blink."
For those who voted No, he said: "I would like to reassure you that Ireland is still be the same country today as it was before, just a little more tolerant, open and respectful.”
Mr Varadkar said for 35 years we had “hidden our conscience behind the Constitution” but voters had 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.”
Mr Varadkar said the campaign had been largely respectful and the Government now had a mandate to bring forward legislation and secure its passage by the end of the year.
“I said in recent days that this was a once in a generation vote. Today I believe we have voted for the next generation,” he said.
And paraphrasing poet Maya Angelou, he concluded: “The wrenching pain of decades of mistreatment of Irish women cannot be unlived. However, today we have ensured that it does not have to be lived again.”