Friday last Ireland went to the polls. I voted on my way into work, as did several of my staff. Others went during their lunch break or after work. The reports came in from around the country - polling was pretty high, but around 6pm the numbers dropped off instead of rising.
Polls closed at 10pm and within a couple of hours there were already the exit polls from The Irish Times and IPSOS MRBI:
EXIT POLL: Majority vote in favour of repeal in all regions. pic.twitter.com/MVi3l9fmI0
— Ipsos MRBI (@IpsosMRBI) May 25, 2018
I've always been wary of exit polls. While they *can* be accurate there's always a chance that they're completely wrong, so it wasn't until Saturday afternoon that I was confident that the country had actually voted "yes".
I wasn't sure how the country would vote. I felt that the general mood was moving or had moved towards a "yes" vote, but I wasn't expecting it to be a landslide, if not for any other reason than voter turnout. Traditionally the turnout in constitutional referendum votes has been pretty weak. That definitely changed with the marriage equality vote, but it's a trend that cannot be ignored.
Now the Irish government has a clear mandate to introduce the legislation necessary to make abortion safe and legal in this country. Minister Harris will hopefully get it all done before the end of the year. Ireland can be a more humane country. It's still far from perfect, but it's slowly moving in the right direction.
While the map above, from the excellent Irish political maps, shows that Donegal voted "no" that's a little misleading. First off parts of Donegal are in other constituencies and secondly a lot of people from Donegal would have voted elsewhere, as they're working in Dublin, Cork, Limerick etc.
Anyway .. the message is clear..
Or as one of my favourite memes for the vote went:
Yes, we burnt it to the ground!
Well done Ireland!