Updated: 25/05/18 : 05:36:27
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Voting ‘No’ in today’s abortion referendum

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

THIRTY FIVE years ago I voted against the Eighth Amendment being put in my Constitution.

But Fine Gael and Labour got its way, driven on by high power lobby groups and a grubby opportunism got up to match Cee Jay Haughey.

The single consolation was that I cast my vote in Dun Laoire, which had the highest rejection rate in the country in 1983.

By the by, one of the the background brains behind putting the Eight Amendment in the Constitution lived in Dun Laoire, half a mile away.

Vote Shift

Times change. In 2018 my vote began to shift at an early stage to the ‘No’ camp.

1. A key shifter for me was the “Citizens Assembly,” which RTE News covered like it was a Dail body. It was not, never was, never will be.

2. The “Citizens Assembly” has no Constitutional status but that was the least of the problems for this citizen here.

3. The “Citizens Assembly'’ had NO citizen representative from Sligo.

4. The “Citizens Assembly” had NO representative'of over half a million people living in sixteen Irish counties.

Stay Silent

Initially I thought — wrongly — that some left winger of substance would stand up and speak out. Wrong.

Intellectual rigour was never the strongest suite of the Left. 

Look at the list of things, for instance, they stay silent about around the globe.

Or, how they hop on the bandwagon at home only when an outcome is known. 

Well presented

Meanwhile, I read online some of the submissions to the “Citizens Assembly.” 

There were some well presented arguments, argued with merit, in there.

Indeed, standalone repeal of the Eighth Amendment might have had much logic to commend it.

Or, it did until the Supreme Court clarified that no other clause in the Constitution offers ANY protection to the unborn child bar ‘the Eighth.’

My vote then hardened considerably when Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill declared himself a ‘No’ vote.

That retired High Court Judge and ex member of the Referendum Commission was a (welcome) surprise. 

Exit Poll

Tonight, we will get the first taste, after polling closes at 10pm, on The Late Late Show of a nationwide exit poll. 

With just two choices on the ballot paper the exit poll should be pinpoint accurate.

Apart from the result itself, today’s voting will tell us what percentage of population is 100% non-represented by ANY of the party leaders in Dáil Éireann.

The country’s percentage turnout, too, will tell us whether today’s result is definitive for a generation, or more.

It has to be well above 50%. Otherwise there will be constant clamour for a new vote, either side.

Direct Mailshot

What we will get is something NONE of the main parties sought or received a mandate for in the February 2016 general election.

Speaking of which, Marc MacSharry, Eamon Scanlon and Tony McLoughlin all publicly said they were voting ‘No.’

Yet in Sligo town only Finnbar Filan bothered with direct mailshot appeals for a ‘No’ vote. 

It was after 7pm last night, Thursday May 24th, when we got our FIRST canvassers in this campaign. 

Would you believe both ‘No’ and then ‘Yes’ arrived within fifteen minutes of each other.