Laois result: Yes 61.35% and No 38.65%
‘Hundreds of Laois women took the sad and lonely journey to Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool over the years’
“I was really struck by the commitment, dedication and enthusiasm of young women in Laois Together for Yes,” said Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan. Photograph: Alan Betson
The people of Laois have cast an overwhelming Yes vote in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment which will remove article 4.3.3 from the Constitution of Ireland.
The total electorate in the Laois constituency was 63,860 with a total poll of 39,860. Invalid votes totalled 106 and the total valid poll was 39,496.
The end result showed that 61.3 per cent (24,232) voted Yes and 38.7 per cent (15,264) voted No.
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan attended the count centre in St. Mary’s Hall in Portlaoise during the proceedings.
“This result means that women’s health issues can be dealt with at home through their doctors and equally importantly within their own communities. I have been struck throughout this campaign by the way that people spoke out about their personal issues,” he said.
“I was really struck by the commitment, dedication and enthusiasm of young women in Laois Together for Yes.
“This was an issue that a succession of governments failed to grasp and Leo Varadkar has shown his leadership capabilities within a year of becoming Taoiseach.
“Hundreds of Laois women who were vulnerable took the sad and lonely journey to Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool over the years but they can now have their health issues dealt with at home,” he said.
Fianna Fáil TD Séan Fleming, who was a No voter, was also at the count centre.
“I came to the count centre here in Portlaoise to witness first-hand what the people of Laois want. They spoke clearly and I will carry their voices into Dáil Éireann. I didn’t advocate for either a yes or a no vote. I see this as too much of a personal issue.
“Several people did ask me how I was going to vote so I told them that I was going to vote no. I expect legislation to be passed by the end of the year and I certainly hope that it is. There will be no Fianna Fail whip on legislation,” he said.
Laois Together for Yes co-founder Elaine O’Neill said, “We are delighted with the result. It is absolutely and utterly fantastic for women’s rights. Finally we are allowing compassion, care and trust for women in Ireland. It was great to see so many young people coming together and voting in favour of repealing the eighth amendment.
“In 2016 alone 42 women gave Laois addresses to clinics in the UK. This is a bittersweet success because women who had never told their stories before opened up to us on their doorsteps during the canvasses.”
Laois man Michael Nerney was involved in the pro-life campaign. He said: “The Irish people have removed the right to life from our constitution. We are now officially a post Christian country. This is the reality that we will all waken up to tomorrow.”