- The Government confirmed the referendum will be held on Friday May 25
- Health Minister Simon Harris announced the widely anticipated date
- People will be asked if they want to repeal Constitution’s Eighth Amendment
- The provision makes abortion illegal in all but exceptional circumstances
A referendum on Ireland’s strict constitutional position on abortion will be held on May 25, the Government has confirmed.
It offers voters the first opportunity in 35 years to overhaul one of the world’s strictest regimes.
Health Minister Simon Harris announced the widely anticipated date. Polls will open at 7am and close at 10pm.
A referendum on Ireland’s strict constitutional position on abortion will be held on May 25, the Government has confirmed. Pictured, demonstrators march for more liberal Irish abortion laws in Dublin in September 2017
Citizens will be asked whether they want to repeal the Eighth Amendment of Ireland’s Constitution and and to instead enable parliament to set the laws.
The provision, which makes abortion illegal in all but exceptional circumstances, was inserted in 1983 to enshrine the equal right to life of the mother and her unborn child.
They will be asked whether they want to replace the amendment with wording that hands responsibility for setting the country’s abortion laws to politicians.
If the public votes to repeal the constitutional provision, the Irish Government intends to table legislation that would permit women to abort within 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Abortion has long been a divisive issue in once stridently Catholic Ireland, where a complete ban was lifted only in 2013 when terminations were allowed in cases where the mother’s life was in danger.