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The 8th

More than a quarter of people say abortion will sway their vote

The 8th Amendment looks set to be a big issue at the next general election.

MORE THAN A quarter of people say the issue of abortion will be a deciding factor in how they vote in the general election.

The Claire Byrne Live/Amárach Research has found that 28% of people will decide how they will vote at the next election based on what a political party or candidate says about abortion.

Poll participants were asked:

Is abortion going to be a deciding factor in how you vote in the general election?

4/7/2015 Anti Abortion Protests A pro-life march in Dublin earlier this year

The majority of people, 61%, will not let the issue sway their vote while 11% say they don’t know. A third of women said that the issue would be a deciding factor in how they vote compared to 23% of men.

Forty-four per cent of those aged 15 to 24 said the issue would sway their vote compared to 18% of those aged 45 to 54. Geographically, 35% of people in Dublin said abortion would decide their vote as opposed to 25% in Munster.

The poll comes amid renewed debate about what position each political party will take on the 8th Amendment. The constitutional provision enshrines the equal right to life of the mother and unborn and effectively outlaws abortion in Ireland.

There are renewed calls for the constitutional amendment – passed by referendum in 1983 – to be repealed and replaced with regime that allows for abortion in cases of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormality.


Last week, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he had no intention of introducing abortion on demand and said any proposition to abolish 8th Amendment would have to take into consideration what replaces it.

He would not give a commitment to include a referendum on the 8th in the next Fine Gael manifesto. His views were described as “seriously out of step” with the majority of voters by pro-choice activists.

Pro-Life Campaign spokesperson Cora Sherlock said that support for the amendment’s retention “will become more evident” once members of the public “get an opportunity to hear about the positive role that [it] has played in protecting human life”.

Fine Gael’s coalition partner Labour favours a referendum and repeal of the amendment.

Tánaiste Joan Burton this week refused to say if it would be a red line issue for the party in any future coalition negotiations. However her former leadership rival Alex White took a more definitive view last night:

Sinn Féin and the Green Party have both called for the repeal of the 8th Amendment. Fianna Fáil has maintained its opposition to repeal.

Renua says it would welcome a referendum but would allow members a free vote. The Social Democrats have called for repeal of the amendment.

While the economy was the dominant issue of the last general election in 2011, the abortion topic proved problematic for Fine Gael.

Former minister Lucinda Creighton claimed her party had given a commitment to voters that it would not legislate for the X Case and maintain its staunch pro-life position.

She subsequently quit the party after the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill was passed in July 2013.

Related: Most politicians want to repeal the 8th Amendment – just don’t ask Fine Gael

Read: Labour and Sinn Féin want to repeal the 8th amendment, but not everyone is on the same page

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