Belfast Telegraph

Majority 'want new abortion laws'

Almost two-thirds of the population want to see new laws brought in to allow abortion in Ireland, at least under certain circumstances, a poll suggests.

More than a third (35%) of voters support plans to legislate for the so-called X case while a further 29% want abortion on demand.

The survey, by Red C for Paddy Power, shows just over a quarter of people would prefer a constitutional amendment to the Supreme Court ruling to exclude the threat of suicide to the mother's life as a valid reason for terminating a pregnancy. Just 8% of people do not want to see any legislation introduced on abortion.

The survey suggests younger people are more likely to favour legalising abortion in any case, while greater numbers of older age groups support limiting the X case, by excluding a threat of suicide as a reason.

A random sample of 1,002 adults over the age of 18 based throughout the country were interviewed over the telephone between January 7 and 9 for the poll, which Red C says is representative of the electorate.

The pollsters also asked about the restrictions on flying the Union flag from Belfast City Hall, which has led to more than a month of demonstrations and violent protests.

Almost half (47%) of those asked disagreed with Belfast City Council's decision to only raise the flag on designated days. Around a third (35%) of Irish voters backed the council's restrictions, while 18% did not express any view.

The poll shows that less than half (48%) of Sinn Fein supporters believed it was the right decision.

On political party support, backing for Fine Gael has declined steadily since the general election, most recently dropping to 29% from 32% last May.

Labour appears to have halted its decline, recording a steady backing of 13% - the same as eight months ago - but is down 6% since election day. Fianna Fail is on 21% - up from 18% - while Sinn Fein is down to 16% from 20%.

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