Voting has closed tonight in a hotly divided referendum vote and exit polls are predicting a landslide Yes victory.
Today voters were asked to choose whether they approved of deleting the 8th Amendment to the constitution and allowing the legalisation of abortion by legislation.
And an IPSOS poll conducted for the Irish Times is predicting that the Yes camp has carried the day by a wide margin.
According to the Irish Times the vote is: 68% Yes and 32% No.
A seperate poll conducted by RTÉ has almost exactly the same outcome, with 69.4% of people voting Yes and 30.6% voting No.
This is a definitive result for a referendum that was expected to come down to the wire after a highly contentious campaign by both sides on social media and on the ground.
According to the National Youth Council, voter registration in Galway rose by 97% ahead of the referendum, showing the massive public interest in this issue in a time when it has often been said that young people don’t take part in the democratic process.
Galway’s elected representatives were as divided on the issue of the vote as the rest of the population.
Both of Galway’s Fianna Fáil TDs, Anne Rabbitte and Éamon Ó Cuív voted NO, along with Fine Gael TD Ciaran Cannon, who broke with his party leader, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and many other party colleagues.
I voted no today because I believe deeply in the inalienable right to life of all humans, unborn and born. It’s not a right we are entitled to deny to others.
— Ciaran Cannon (@ciarancannon) May 25, 2018
Local TDs who voted are known to have voted Yes include Independent Td Catherine Connolly, Fine Gael TD and Junior Seán Kyne, and Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton,
Today’s referendum is on a complex, sensitive issue and people are voting yes or no because of genuinely-held beliefs and views. I voted yes because I think change is needed and especially so for difficult cases such as fatal foetal conditions and rape.
— Seán Kyne TD (@SeanKyneTD) May 25, 2018
— Helen McEntee TD (@HMcEntee) May 25, 2018
The official count will begin tomorrow morning and a first result can be expected sometime Saturday afternoon.