Majority for repeal of Eighth Amendment, poll shows

Labour backers most strongly favour change on abortion with 78% for repeal

A substantial majority of people would like to see the repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution to allow abortion in certain circumstances, according the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll.

The question put to respondents read: “The 8th amendment to the Constitution gives equal rights to the mother and to the unborn child. Are you in favour of repealing this amendment so that terminations in, for example, the case of rape or fatal foetal abnormality could be made legal, or are you in favour of keeping the amendment?”

Some 64 per cent said they were in favour of repealing the amendment, 25 per cent were against and 11 per cent had no opinion.

A big majority of supporters of all the political parties said they were in favour of repealing the amendment.


Labour supporters were the most strongly in favour with 78 per cent supporting the change, followed by Sinn Féin supporters. Fine Gael voters were the least enthusiastic with 59 per cent backing repeal with Fianna Fáil voters just marginally more in favour.

Age groups

There was decidedly more support for repealing the amendment from younger and middle-aged voters than older people. Up to the age of 49, about 70 per cent backed repeal of the amendment but this dropped to 58 per cent for those aged 50-64 and 49 per cent for those aged over 64.

Women were more inclined than men to back the repeal with people living in urban areas a little more for change than those in rural areas.

Middle-class C1 and C2 voters were most supportive of change.


However, the best-off AB voters and the least well-off DE category were less enthusiastic about repeal with the group most opposed being farmers.

In regional terms, voters in Dublin were more supportive of repeal than those in the rest of the country with people in the rest of Leinster being the least enthusiastic.

The Labour party has made the repeal of the Eight Amendment a key part of its election platform and said it will not go into another government with Fine Gael unless there is a commitment to deal with the issue.

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins is a columnist with and former political editor of The Irish Times