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Dublin: 4°C Tuesday 7 December 2021

People are divided on the Eighth Amendment, but half want it repealed

Many people are still on the fence about the topic.

A vigil in memory of Savita Halappanavar, who died after being denied a termination.
A vigil in memory of Savita Halappanavar, who died after being denied a termination.
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

ABOUT HALF OF Irish people are in favour of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution being repealed.

Some 49% of people surveyed in a recent opinion poll want the amendment – which gives the life of the unborn equal status to the life of a mother – to be removed.

A further 19% of people said they are not in favour of it being repealed, while 32% aren’t sure.

The findings are contained in a Claire Byrne Live/Amárach Research poll for TheJournal.ie that was carried out in May (1,000 adults were surveyed nationwide).

In our TD survey on the same topic, just under half (48%) of TDs replied – 76 out of 158.

The majority of respondents want the amendment to be repealed: 47 (62%), while 22 don’t (30%), three don’t know (4%) and four replied but did not give a definitive answer (5%).*

Poll breakdown 

In the public poll, more men than women are in favour of the amendment being repealed – 53% compared to 45%. Younger people are more in favour, but age didn’t have a huge impact on voting patterns.

Over half (54%) of people aged 18-34 years are in favour, while 46% of people aged 35-54 years said Yes, as did 48% of people over the age of 55.

People in Dublin and Munster are more likely to be in favour of the eighth being repealed, with 56% and 52% of respondents saying Yes respectively, compared to 42% in Leinster excluding Dublin and 43% in Connacht and Ulster.


In the same survey, respondents were asked if they wanted a referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment to be held in the lifetime of this government.

Overall, 52% are in favour, with 21% against and 27% unsure.

In terms of holding a referendum during this government’s term, 48 TDs who replied to our survey agreed, 22 disagreed, two are unsure and nine TDs’ answers placed them in the Other category.

Among the public, men are more in favour of a referendum being held than women: 56% to 48%.

Younger people are more likely to support the idea, with 55% of 18-24-year-olds and 60% of 25-34 year-olds saying Yes, compared to 47% of 35-44 year-olds, 49% of 45-54 year-olds and 50% of people over the age of 55.

Geography didn’t have a huge impact on voting, but people in Dublin are more in favour of a referendum – 57% compared to 54% in Munster, 47% in Leinster excluding Dublin and 48% in Connacht and Ulster.

*Percentages are rounded up or down to the nearest whole number. 

Read: We asked every TD if they want to repeal the Eighth Amendment – here’s what they said

Read: How many TDs does it take to answer a question?

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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