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'A hammer blow to the Church': How the world reacted to Ireland's Yes vote

A number of outlets reported the significance of the result ahead of Pope Francis’ visit in August.

Ireland abortion laws Source: PA Wire/PA Images

THE WORLD HAS reacted to Ireland’s strong vote in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment, with a few outlets commenting on its significance in the context of the Papal visit in August.

A number of international media were in attendance to report on Ireland’s vote in favour of liberalising its laws relating to abortion.

Roscommon also got a few mentions for voting in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment, after it was the only constituency to vote against same-sex marriage.

Among the media at Dublin Castle today were the Press Association, international news agency AFP, the BBC and other European media.

Guardian Source: Guardian

For the second time in two days, Ireland’s referendum has made the top story on the Guardian’s home page.

It said that Ireland had voted ‘Yes’ “in unexpectedly large numbers to abolish the Eighth Amendment”.

It also pointed out the proximity of the result to the Pope’s visit in a few months, time, and said that the ‘Repeal’ vote also pointed a spotlight on Northern Ireland.

Victory for the yes side means that the only part of the United Kingdom and Ireland where abortion remains banned in almost all circumstances is Northern Ireland.

Ireland abortion laws Source: Niall Carson

International news agency AFP noted the significance of the timing of the referendum result – three months before Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families.

The result is another hammer blow to the Roman Catholic Church’s authority in Ireland, coming three years after referendum voters backed legalising same-sex marriage by 62%.

They also had an interview with a woman called Eileen Shields, who told them “We made history”.

She said she was ostracised by her friends and the Church when she got pregnant outside of marriage as a teenager 46 years ago.
‘I’m here because I’m 65 and in 1972 Ireland wasn’t a nice place to be when you were 18 and pregnant and on your own,’ she told AFP.

Le Monde Source: Le Monde

French newspaper Le Monde reported that “the referendum on abortion was likely to divide Ireland”, but instead it “united the country” as the ‘Yes’ vote was “massive and unexpected”.

It reported:

Strategist and figurehead of the ‘yes’ campaign for years, Ailbhe Smyth, a 71-year-old retired French university professor, welcomed Ireland’s ”definitive break with a history of which was really hard for women.
“My heart is full of pride and relief for women, men, for Ireland,” she added.

Vox eighth Source: Vox

US site Vox reported that ”the 8th Amendment to Ireland’s constitution is one of the most draconian abortion restrictions in the developed world”.

It also commented on the referendum result in the context of the Catholic Church.

Pro-repeal sentiment was especially strong among young and urban voters, suggesting that a new left-leaning and secular majority had supplanted the more conservative Catholic older generation.

Fox News Source: Fox News

Fox News reported that the referendum is “a landmark in Irish women’s fight for abortion rights”.

They quoted Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Children Katherine Zappone, and Save The 8th spokesperson John McGuirk, on their reaction to the results.

Al Jazeera reported that Ireland had “voted overwhelmingly to liberalise the country’s strict abortion laws”. They quoted interviews with two people:

The results of the exit poll were surprising to Maria Jones, who had anticipated the margin being ‘very tight’. However, her prediction that ‘a lot of the older people will probably vote No’ had been correct.
On the other hand, Robert Kennedy expected all along there would be a ‘Yes’ majority. Robert believes it’s time for change and that women deserve ‘the right to choose for themselves’.

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