Mayo results: Restrained celebrations greet Repeal outcome

Total valid poll at 56,574, with 32,287 in favour of repeal and 24,287 backing retention

Fianna Fáil TD Lisa Chambers, a strong supporter of repealing the Eighth Amendment,  welcomed the referendum result, stating  “it represents a seismic shift in our society”. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil TD Lisa Chambers, a strong supporter of repealing the Eighth Amendment, welcomed the referendum result, stating “it represents a seismic shift in our society”. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Joyous but restrained celebrations from repealers greeted returning officer Fintan Murphy’s announcement of the referendum result in Mayo.

The total valid poll was 56,574 votes, with 32,287 (57.07 per cent) in favour of repeal and 24,287 (42.93 per cent) backing retention of the Eighth Amendment.

Richael Carroll, convenor of the Mayo Together for Yes campaign, spared no adjectives after hearing the result of the official count which showed her side had prevailed by exactly 8,000 votes, a substantial and unexpected margin.

“My reaction is one of elation, delight, happiness and gratitude,” Ms Carroll stated.

She added she was not that surprised by the overall result both nationally and locally, stating she had noticed a “huge shift” towards removing the Eighth Amendment in recent weeks.

I think we woke up to a different country today, a more caring and compassionate nation

Politicians were thin on the ground in the Castlebar count centre, with only local Fianna Fáil TD Lisa Chambers, a strong supporter of repealing the amendment, putting in an appearance.

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Ms Chambers welcomed the referendum result, stating that “it represents a seismic shift in our society”.

‘A more caring nation’

She continued: “I think we woke up to a different country today, a more caring and compassionate nation.”

Ms Chambers expressed the hope that enough Dáil deputies on the No side will now “give effect to the will of the people” by supporting follow-up legislation on the abortion issue.

In contrast, No campaigners in Mayo were downbeat at the result but pointed out that a sizeable number in the constituency – over 24,000 voters – had firmly rejected the proposal to remove the Eighth.

A majority of voters in the village of Knock opposed repealing the Eighth. According to tally figures, 439 residents in the Marian Shrine village rejected the proposal – almost 100 more than the number in favour (344).

Hopeful of similar visit

Knock was visited by Pope John Paul in 1979, and shrine authorities are hopeful of a similar visit by Pope Francis when he comes here in August.

Other areas in the Mayo constituency where the No vote prevailed included Inishturk Island, where the voting stood at 22-9 to retain the amendment.

Clare Island, a neighbouring outpost to Inishturk, recorded a mostly Yes vote, as did Innisbiggle Island, where eight residents in total cast their ballot – five in favour of removing the amendment, and three against.

Strong No votes were recorded in parts of Achill Island, Ballyvary, near Castlebar, and parts of Erris, including Bangor Erris and Glenamoy.

The total turnout in the constituency was 62 per cent, up 2 per cent on the Marriage Equality Referendum in 2016.

The turnout in Mayo this time was 62 per cent, up 2 per cent on the Equality Referendum.

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