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Leo Varadkar: 'I find it difficult to contemplate there being a No vote'

The Taoiseach said opinion polls have been wrong in the past.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said he finds “it difficult to contemplate” a No vote being returned in the referendum tomorrow.

Varadkar said people must be prepared for such a result, but said he believes a No vote will send out the wrong message about modern Irish society.

“I find it difficult to contemplate there being a No vote, although we need to be realistic about the possibility of that.

“I think it would send out the wrong message not just to women, but to our society,” he said.

Speaking to the media at Fine Gael’s last referendum event before polling day tomorrow, he said the government is “taking nothing for granted” when it comes to the result.

“We are taking absolutely nothing for granted, opinion polls have been wrong before,” said Varadkar. The only way a Yes vote will be secured is if people get out and vote, said the Taoiseach.

He pointed out that the divorce referendum passed by only 10,000 votes, which was about one ballot paper in every box.

IMG_1420 Fine Gael's Kate O'Connell and Minister Eoghan Murphy campaigning together today for a Yes vote. Source: Christina Finn

During the course of the press conference in Merrion Square today, a pro-life barrister shouted questions at the Taoiseach. The barrister was informed that it was a media-only press conference, however, he persisted with his questioning, stating that he had a right to ask them.

Varadkar said there has been a “legacy of shame” in Ireland for many years, which has resulted in 170,000 women being forced to travel, often in secret, to end their pregnancies. “I hope a Yes vote will take away that stigma,” he said.

If the Yes vote does prevail, the government aims to publish the legislation before the summer recess. Varadkar said it will then go through the Dáil and Seanad in order to have it enacted by the end of the year.

fine gael 549_90545739 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD with Pro-choice Activist Ailbhe Smyth, NWCI's Orla O'Connor, and TD Frances Fitzgerald at Merrion Square in Dublin. Source: Sam Boal

He reiterated that his government will not be re-visiting the issue with another referendum, adding that he believes it would be “a long time” before any future government would consider it.

“This is a once in a generation decision for the Irish people,” said the Taoiseach, who encouraged everyone to get out and vote.

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