eighth amendment

  • There will be 211 polling stations in operation across county Mayo in the Referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

    Voters on Mayo’s three islands are voting today, and the rest of the county cast their preference tomorrow (Friday).

    Voters are being asked if they want the Eighth Amendment in the Constitution retained or repealed.

    The Eighth Amendment  reads "The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right."

    This is the phrasing exactly as it appears in the constitution and there can be no changes made to it without a referendum.

    County Registrar Fintan Murphy is in charge of operations in the Referendum in county Mayo.

    He told Midwest News today that there is one polling station less in the county on this occasion than at the last Referendum, and the voters affected will be accommodated in Tourmakeady. 

  • Up to 300 people attended the Save the Eighth conference in the TF Royal Hotel in Castlebar last night.

    A range of speakers addressed those in attendance, including the Deputy leader of Fianna Fáil Dara Calleary and Sinn Fein deputy Peadar Toibin. Both TDs confirmed their opposition to repealing the Eighth Amendment and stated that it has served this country well in the protection of both mother and child.

    Niamh Ui Bhriain Director of the Life Institute said that if the Eighth amendment is repealed it will legalise abortion for the first 12 weeks of a baby’s life for any reason.

    A standing ovation followed speaker Sandra Caulfield and her husband Jonathon who shared the story of Hope Rose their baby daughter diagnosed with a life limiting condition before birth and who lived for 9 days.

    The gathering came to their feet again for Dr Anthony O’Reilly ,a GP, who asked how could he deliver a baby into life on one hand and condemn another to death if abortion is legalised in Ireland.
    Galway based business man Declan Ganley closed the conference with a plea to people to stand for life and fight the attempt to change the Constitution.

  • The Government will reveal a policy paper this morning outlining what they want the laws on abortion to be, if the 8th amendment is repealed.

    Cabinet approved a referendum bill yesterday and the Dáil will begin debating it this morning.

    Simon Harris will get up in the Dáil at 10.30 to kickstart the debate on the bill that would allow a referendum on the 8th amendment.

    When he does he'll describe the regime he'd aim to introduce in the event of a repeal vote.

    It will say there should be abortion without specific indication for up to 12 weeks, or in English abortion will be allowed for any reason within the first trimester.

    GPs and medical practitioners will lead the service, which will be done by administering abortion pills.

    After the 12 week limit, abortions will be allowed in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, or where there's a risk to the life, health or mental health of the mother.

    In these cases 2 doctors will have to examine the mother, and there will be an appeals process if she isn't happy with the decision.

    There will also be a cooling off period. So when a woman goes to seek an abortion, she'll have to wait two or three days to consider it before being given an abortion pill.

    Medical practitioners will also have a contentious objection, so if they don't feel comfortable allowing abortions they won't have to.

  • The Attorney General has been asked to look at ways to make sure, if abortion laws are ever re-visited in the future, they'd get more scrutiny than regular legislation.

    The move is being seen as a way to address concerns raised by Tánaiste Simon Coveney.

    Yesterday Simon Coveney went into cabinet asking that if any new abortion laws were to come in, they would require two thirds of the Oireachtas to vote in favour of changing them again.

    But he was quickly, and publicly, shot down by the Taoiseach.

    However, according to Minister Simon Harris , the Attorney General has been asked to see if there's a way of giving future abortion laws special status.

    The bill to allow a referendum on the Eighth Amendment passed the second stage in the Seanad last night, by 35 votes to 10.

    Debate on the remaining stages will resume later today.

    It is now likely the bill will pass all stages today.

  • With the vote to decide on repealing or retaining the Eighth Amendment  now only days away, Mayo voters have still not heard the views of either Minister Michael Ring, or former Taoiseach Enda Kenny on their intentions in Friday’s ballot.

    Both Fine Gael TDS are remaining tightlipped in the debate, despite repeated questions on the subject from Midwest News, we have failed to get a response from either deputy.

    The two Fianna Fail deputies in the county have clearly stated how they will be voting.

    Deputy Dara Calleary will be voting No, while Lisa Chambers is saying Yes.

  • Mayo county councillors yesterday voted “not to take a position” on the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, the subject of the Referendum that takes place on Friday week.

    Independent councillor Gerry Ginty proposed that councillors support the retention of the Eighth Amendment and called on voters of Mayo to vote No on the 25th of May.

    However, his motion was defeated as a counter proposal was put forward by Fine Gael’s Jarleth Munnelly calling on the councillors  not to take a position on the matter, and that proposal was carried

    The decision by councillors  not to take a position on the Eighth amendment was only arrived at after extensive debate.

    Cllr Ginty made his proposal calling on voters across the county to support the retention of the Eighth amendment , by voting No on the 25th, and that was supported by Independent cllr Frank Durcan. Both cllrs outlined in detail why they believe the eighth amendment as it stands is necessary.

    Cllr Ginty said that every public representative should be prepared to state publicly how they will be voting.

    Cllr Durcan outlined his opposition to abortion saying that there are preservation orders on everything from bats to elephants but not on human life, if the Eighth amendment is abolished.

    Cllr Jarleth Munnelly said while he respected the views of both cllrs  - it was not up to cllrs to come down on either side in this debate and added it was the right of any cllr not to give his/her view on this matter.

    He then put forward the counter proposal calling on councillors not to take a position on the issue.

    Independent cllr Seamus Weir argued that while the Eighth Amendment had not protected women like it should, he would rather see it amended rather than abolished.

    Sinn Fein’s Joe McHale spoke in favour of abolishing the Eighth amendment saying women needed to take the power back into their own hands.

    FG’s Tereasa McGuire said she would not preach to anyone, and said it was a personal choice and called for sensitivity in the debate.

    FF’S Michael Smyth outlined his opposition to abolishing the Eighth amendment and spoke of threatening emails that he and other cllrs had received from members of the public – simply because the motion was on the council agenda. He said the state had let down women in the past and questioned giving the state back power if the Eighth amendment is abolished.

    Finally a vote was taken, and all cllrs present, opted not to take a position on the matter, with the exception of cllrs Ginty and Durcan who voted against, and cllr Weir abstained.

  • The huge 'NO' sign which was put up on the north side of Ben Bulben mountain yesterday morning has been removed.

    It is not clear who removed it, but as dawn broke this morning it was no longer to be seen.

    The erection of the sign by members of the Sligo For Life group generated considerable controversy all day yesterday with some criticism of the group for defacing Sligo's iconic mountain.

    By yesterday afternoon Sligo County Council had begun an investigation under planning laws into its erection. 

    The National Parks and Wildlife Service told the people responsible for putting it up to take it down.

    An Taisce submitted a legal complaint to Sligo County Council on its erection.

    It claimed the 100 foot sign would require planning permission as the mountain is part of a sensitive rural landscape in a visually vulnerable area and is surrounded by scenic routes, all designated under the Sligo County Development Plan 2017-2023.

    Tommy Banks is a member of the Sligo for Life Group he told Midwest Radio this morning why the group put up the massive sign on the mountain and said it’s not known who took it down overnight. But he said yesterday evening a member of the public had threatened that it would be taken down.


  • TDs are prepared to sit in the Dáil until midnight tonight to debate the bill on the abortion referendum.

    They've returned from their St Patrick's Day break a day early for the discussions.

    The bill includes the wording of the question to be put to the electorate.

    Voters will be asked whether to retain or repeal the amendment, which gives equal rights to life to the  mother and the unborn .

    In an effort to meet the target of holding the referendum at the end of May, the Dáil may sit until midnight tonight if necessary, to allow the bill to pass second stage.

    Time has also been allocated for the bill tomorrow and on Thursday, and the Government hopes it will pass all stages in the Dáil this week and in the Seanad next week.

    However the minority Government cannot guarantee that timeline.

    The public is expected to be given a  vote on the 8th Amendment at the end of May.


  • The polls in the referendum on the Eighth Amendment opened this morning at 7am.

    More than three million people are eligible to vote .

    The polling stations will stay open until 10pm this evening.

    There are 211 polling stations in operation today in county Mayo.

     Voters are being asked a Yes / No question in the ballot box.

    A Yes vote means repealing the 8th amendment and allowing the Oireachtas to legislate for abortion.

    A No vote will retain the 8th amendment as it is now.

    Voters should mark an X next to their choice.

    Your polling /voting card will tell you where your polling station is.

    If you haven't got a voting card, Mayo County Registrar Fintan Murphy told Midwest News this morning that you can still vote as long as you're on the register of electors. In that case you are advised to bring ID to the centre.

    No videos or photos, including selfies, can be taken in the polling station.

    You also shouldn't wear any jumpers, badges or merchandise promoting either side when you go to the station to vote.