exit poll suggested 69.4 per cent in favour of the Yes side in the referendum and 30.6 per cent for "No".

Ireland appears poised to overwhelmingly overturn a constitutional amendment that bans abortion in nearly all circumstances, according to a exit poll.

The polls are open as the nation votes in a referendum to repeal or retain the Eighth Amendment.

More than 3.2million people are registered to vote in the referendum, with over 100,000 new voters registering to vote ahead of the poll.

A bitter campaign has dominated public debate in Ireland over recent months as almost 3.5 million voters are asked whether they want to overturn a constitutional ban on abortion.


The 27-year-old voted yes to repeal the Eighth Amendment. "I'm very emotional about this", she said, outside a polling station opposite Dublin's cathedral.

Another Irish Times article reported that voter turnout was extremely high, possibly higher than it was when Ireland voted to legalize same-sex "marriage".

"So many women have travelled across to England to take care of their family and healthcare needs and I think it's a disgrace and it needs to change", said "Yes" voter Sophie O'Gara, 28, referring to women who travel to Britain for abortions. Numerous anti-abortion signs showed photographs of foetuses.

'Home to vote' campaigns had gained momentum in recent weeks, bringing hundreds of young people back to exercise their democratic right.

Exit polls are not based on the actual counting of ballots.


Four thousand voters were interviewed by Ipsos/MRBI as they left polling stations on Friday.

"I have found it hard, I have stumbled but I have met extraordinary women and men along the way who have changed my perspectives on this deeply emotive issue". That was the final date to be added to the register in order to be entitled to vote in Friday's poll. "For decades, the Eighth Amendment has protected unborn babies and mothers equally in Ireland by recognizing that both are valuable human beings who deserve a right to life". She said her friend had found seeing the omnipresent referendum placards distressing. It's also a test of the apparent leftward shift of the electorate recently represented by Varadkar himself, the first openly gay prime minister in a once-deeply conservative country that had banned homosexuality until just a quarter-century ago. But this is not simply a Catholic or Christian issue, he said, since "people of all faiths and none" have come together in a broad coalition of concern, sharing the belief that "innocent human life should be protected".

An Irish Times exit poll released Friday night projected a landslide victory for those who want to loosen abortion laws, but official results are not expected until Saturday afternoon.

The amendment, in place since 1983, requires authorities to equally protect the right to life of a mother and her unborn child, from the moment of conception.

As per 1983 amendment, anyone terminating a pregnancy in Ireland could face 14 years in jail.


In the event of a Yes vote, the Government will introduce legislation permitting unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks. "In Ireland today", the video states, with lines cutting between the celebrities, "if the woman beside you is pregnant, she does not have full rights over her own body".

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