Thousands gather at Dublin Castle to celebrate ‘ground-breaking’ yes vote
The Taoiseach and Health Minister were cheered by the crowds after the result was announced.
Thousands of campaigners have gathered for a “ground-breaking moment” at Dublin Castle as the results of Ireland’s abortion referendum were announced.
Supporters of the Yes vote began to arrive at the castle from the morning as exit polls showed the country had voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment.
Thousands were in the castle courtyard by the time the official results were announced shortly after about 6.15pm on Saturday.
Eighty-one-year-old campaigner Frank Crummey was marking the occasion with his wife Evelyn and their children and grandchildren.
He said: “It means everything to me, because while I knew this day would come I honestly didn’t think it would come in my lifetime, and now that it has I’m just elated.
“This is obviously my last campaign, my last crack, and I can die happy now.”
Mr Crummey said he had been a founder member of Ireland’s first family planning clinic and its first women’s refuge.
He said: “I’ve been campaigning for women’s rights all my life and this is another step in the emancipation of women.”
His daughter, Liz Crummey, 56, said: “I’m here for all of the women in my life and in my family because this is just such a ground-breaking moment for Irish women.
“I was here in 1983 when the Eighth Amendment was put into the constitution and it’s been a shocking time to live through.”
He daughter Fiona McEvoy, 28, said she had flown home to Dublin from London to vote.
She said: “Abortion in Ireland was already happening and I think exporting the problem was just making people very ashamed of how we treated those women.
“I think we were more ashamed of exporting the problem than of women going for terminations when they decided that they needed one.”
Minister for Health Simon Harris was cheered when he arrived at the castle, with women shaking his hand and thanking him.
One woman carried a sign which read: “I fancy Simon Harris.”
Megan Holyland, 23, from Co Galway, said: “He’s like my idol.
“I just thanked him on behalf of everyone and the people of Ireland. This has been a long time coming.”
Her friend Rebecca Lalor, 23, said: “We were all fangirling, I was shaking taking photos of him.”
Nineteen-year-old Kate Nolan and sister Lisa, 16, from Dublin, also spoke to Mr Harris.
Kate said: “We just thanked him for all he’d done in the campaign. He was absolutely amazing.”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was also greeted by cheers when he arrived as was Ailbhe Smyth from the Together for Yes campaign.
Supporters ate After Eight chocolates and popped bottles of Champagne while waiting for the result to be announced.
Some supporters dressed as angels, while hundreds wore jumpers and T-shirts with campaign slogan.
Maeve Conway, 21, had decorated her dog Baby’s harness with Yes badges.
She said: “There’s an array of emotions today. Happy, sad that it had to happen. For 35 years we were waiting for this.
“It’s a huge change for Irish women.”