Revealed: How Irish people intend to vote in next year’s Abortion Referendum
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Revealed: How Irish people intend to vote in next year’s Abortion Referendum

THE VOTING intentions of Irish citizens in next summer’s Abortion Referendum have been revealed in a new opinion poll.

The latest Ipsos MRBI/Irish Times poll found widespread support for a repeal of the controversial Eighth Amendment and for a relaxation of Ireland’s strict ban on abortion.

However, Irish voters do not appear to want to see general access to abortion in all circumstances enshrined in Ireland’s laws.

In today’s poll, voters were asked about their views on two possibilities in next year’s referendum – limited abortion in certain circumstances and general availability.

It found that less than a quarter (24 per cent) are in favour of legalising terminations in nearly all cases.

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There was far stronger support among the Irish electorate for limited abortions – in cases of rape, foetal abnormalities and threats to a mother’s life – at 57 per cent.

A clear majority – about 70 per cent – would vote in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment to the Ireland’s Constitution, which gives equal rights to life of the mother and unborn child.

A small amount of voters – at just 10 per cent – said they did not want a referendum on the issue whatsoever.

Overall, the latest polling figures suggest that a referendum that offered general access to terminations in all circumstances would have little chance of success.

The poll consisted of 1,200 voters, aged 18 and over and was conducted on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

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The Irish Times – who co-authored the study – said the margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 per cent.

The newspaper stressed that the poll does not suggest that the “public won’t change its mind” and that Ireland is now “on course for greater liberalisation of its abortion laws”.

Last month, Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed a date of May or June 2018 for the long-awaited referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

He said Ireland was “not ready for abortion on demand” but indicated that he would allow a free vote on the issue, given the range of views held by his own party, Fine Gael, and others.

Many of his TDs, particularly those from rural constituencies, are opposed to widespread abortion reform.

Foreign Minister Simon Coveney – who ran against Mr Varadkar before his election as Taoiseach in June – has said he would be “surprised” if Irish voters agreed to a liberal abortion system similar to Britain’s.