Two Irelands, one referendum divide
Today's Sunday Independent/Kantar Millward Brown opinion poll highlights a divide of opinion in the country in relation to the issue of abortion, certainly, but it also seems to underline the emergence of what we might call two Irelands: an urban, liberal and a rural, conservative Ireland. This phenomenon has, of course, always existed at some level, but the referendum campaign is highlighting what appears to be a growing polarisation which is unfortunate, the exploitation of which should be resisted in the weeks ahead.
When the referendum is ultimately decided, whatever the outcome, every effort should be made to accept the result, which will no doubt be the case, but also to avoid blame and recrimination.
Relative to the abortion referendum campaign in 1983, the current referendum on a proposal to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution has, so far, been conducted in a reasonable spirit. The level of bitterness which was evident 35 years ago is thankfully absent today, although the campaign is still being fought in a trenchant manner which is to be expected, indeed welcomed, for it serves to illuminate the issues to be decided upon.