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Politicians and campaigners react to Irish abortion referendum ‘landslide’

This is how some prominent voices reacted to exit poll data.


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Ireland’s referendum on abortion appears to have delivered a landslide result in favour of liberalisation after a hard-fought campaign on both sides of the debate.

This is how some prominent voices reacted to exit poll data:

– For

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar thanked voters for taking part in the referendum, tweeting: “It’s looking like we will make history tomorrow”.

Ireland’s deputy premier, Tanaiste Simon Coveney said the referendum had made him “proud to be Irish”.

“Thank you to everybody who voted today – democracy can be so powerful on days like today – looks like a stunning result that will bring about a fundamental change for the better,” he tweeted late on Friday night.

Health minister Simon Harris tweeted: “Will sleep tonight in the hope of waking up to a country that is more compassionate, more caring and more respectful.”

The leader of the Alliance Party in Northern Ireland, Naomi Long, said it appeared to be an “incredible result for #together4yes #repealthe8th”.

She tweeted: “Eyes will now turn to us: yet again a place apart. Behind GB. Behind Ireland.”

UK Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt said it was a “historic & great day for Ireland, & a hopeful one for Northern Ireland”.

She tweeted: “That hope must be met. #HomeToVote stories are a powerful and moving testimony as to why this had to happen and that understanding & empathy exists between generations. #trustwomen”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted simply: “Hope this is right.”

Labour MP Owen Smith, a former shadow Northern Ireland secretary, said it was “Wonderful news, if true. And a powerful message to Northern Ireland”.

“We need change across the whole island of Ireland,” he tweeted.

Further afield Cecile Richards, president of pro-choice US organisation Planned Parenthood, said it was “thrilling news”.

“This is a victory that shows overwhelming public support for the ability of pregnant people to make their own health decisions. #Repealthe8th,” she tweeted.

– Against

Cora Sherlock said the polls “paint a very sad state of affairs”.

“But those who voted No should take heart,” she tweeted late on Friday.

“Abortion on demand would deal Ireland a tragic blow but the pro-life movement will rise to any challenge it faces. Let’s go into tomorrow with this in mind. #8thref”

John McGuirk, spokesman for the Savethe8th campaign, thanked those who campaigned for and voted No, tweeting: “The 8th did not create an unborn child’s right to life – it merely acknowledged it. The right exists, independent of what a majority says.

“That said, with a result of that magnitude, clearly there was very little to be done. Thank you to every NO voter and campaigner. #8thref”

Entrepreneur and prominent anti-abortion advocate Declan Ganley praised those who voted against repeal, calling them “heroes”.

He tweeted: “When due to the snuffing out of their human rights, the first of countless thousands of Ireland’s unborn children are killed in Irish clinics or hospitals, all those that voted No can at least know you fought the good fight to try to save those little ones.”