How Simon Harris became the ‘Yes Minister’

The strongest political advocate for repeal was also the abortion referendum’s biggest winner

Minister for Health Simon Harris, for the "Yes" side, and Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín, representing the "No" vote, clash during RTÉ's Prime Time debate on the abortion referendum. Video: RTÉ

Cheers and chants greeted Leo Varadkar as he arrived at the InterContinental Dublin, the hotel next to the RDS count centre, last Saturday night. That would normally spell good news for a Taoiseach who had just sealed his place in the history books by steering a difficult abortion-referendum campaign to a safely landed Yes vote. There was just one problem. They were not cheering him or chanting his name.

Varadkar took a step back as the ecstatic volunteers from the Together for Yes campaign moved to embrace their star: “Simon, Simon, Simon.”

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