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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 18 April, 2019

Referendum day: The world's media watches as Ireland goes to the polls

A number of international media have flown to Ireland for today’s referendum.

AS IRELAND BEGINS voting in a historic referendum on whether to repeal or retain the Eighth Amendment, international media organisations have been weighing in on the issue.

In the past few days, TV stations, newspapers and other media outlets from around the world have covered Ireland’s abortion laws and questioned whether they will vote for change or to keep the laws as they are.

Yesterday, a spokesperson for Together For Yes told that the organisation had been receiving a number of calls from journalists from around the world. She said that some of them expressed shock at Ireland’s current abortion laws, which allow it only when the mother’s life is at risk.

There have been many reports from around the world about today’s referendum – here’s a flavour of what’s being said.

Guardian Source: Guardian

The Guardian has our referendum as the main story across its homepage. It called the campaign “polarised and often acrimonious” and said that the result would:

“…either confirm Ireland on its journey from a conservative Catholic country to a socially liberal one, or indicate that social reforms over recent decades have reached their limit.”

The yes campaign has focused on the argument that abortion is a reality for thousands of Irish woman, but the constitutional ban merely exports the issue at huge emotional, physical and financial cost to a woman in a crisis situation.
The no campaign has repeatedly warned that “extremist” legislation would follow repeal. In fact, the government’s proposals would bring Ireland into line with most of Europe.

International news agency AFP did a video package ahead of the referendum today.

In its written piece, it said that Irish citizens were to vote “in a landmark referendum on whether the traditionally Catholic country should liberalise some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe”.

Ireland was traditionally one of the most religious countries in Europe. However, the Catholic Church’s influence has waned in recent years following a series of child sex abuse scandals.
The referendum comes three years after Ireland voted to legalise same-sex marriage, in a seismic change for the EU nation.


TIME magazine went a bit further, saying that Ireland was “more likely than ever before” to change “one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world”.

In Ireland, like the US, the conversation about abortion never stopped. But the social climate today – with an increasingly secular population – has made Ireland ripe for change that was not possible in the 1980s.
In the run up to the abortion referendum, younger generations have mobilised  – including by encouraging members of the Irish diaspora to come home to vote.

CNN news said that the abortion issue had ”divided the country”.

love both 863_90544791 Source: Sam Boal via

One of the largest news agencies in the world, Reuters had this to say about Ireland:

Ireland has been changing fast. It legalised divorce by a razor-thin majority only in 1995, but three years ago became the first country in the world to adopt gay marriage by popular vote.
A decades-old battle over abortion has played out in a fiercely contested debate that divided political parties, saw the once mighty church take a back seat and became a test case for how global internet giants deal with social media advertising in political campaigns.

“Unlike in 1983, when religion was front and centre and abortion was a taboo subject for most people, the campaign was instead defined by women on both sides publicly describing their personal experiences of terminations.”

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