Dublin Central report: lowest turnout but among strongest support for repeal

Just 51.5% voted in a constituency regularly described as one of the most deprived

If Dublin Central stood out as a constituency in the referendum it was for its low turnout but its high support for repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

While most other constituencies were showing voter participation of 60 per cent and higher, Dublin Central hovered at just over 50 per cent.

Often described as the most deprived constituency in the State, just 51.5 per cent of voters cast their ballot.

But the electorate voted 76.51 per cent in favour of the proposal to remove the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution, one of highest of the 40 constituencies.


The three-seater, home to Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald and Independent Maureen O’Sullivan, spreads across the north inner city and East Wall, out to Stoneybatter, Drumcondra, Cabra and parts of Glasnevin.

Some observers say the high vote in support of repeal reflected the effective campaign by Ms McDonald.

The Sinn Féin president herself though the result “took everyone a little by surprise”.

“But people were saying they wanted to do the right thing and people talked in a quiet way to each other.”

She said “it’s been the most extraordinary campaign I’ve every had a part in” and it was a “campaign beyond party politics.”

Ms O’Sullivan said voter apathy was a big issue in the constituency, even though large numbers of young people came out.

“If you’re living in an area that been neglected for years you get to the point of not bothering to vote because you feel it’s not going to make a difference.”

She also pointed out that many people from new communities lived in the area and did not have a vote in referendums.

But some areas had over 80 per cent in favour including Ballybough and Stoneybatter. Ms O’Sullivan said it was “not a day to be triumphalist. People on the No side are feeling very disappointed. But I can’t see the floodgates opening as they predict.”

Workers’ Party councillor Eilis Ryan, Together for Yes co-ordinator in Dublin Central, said she was “very proud that this constituency has returned one of the highest Yes votes in Dublin”.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times