Tuesday 19 March 2019

'We assumed silent voters were No, but they were Yes' - how Dubs voted

Scenes at Dublin Castle following the result of the referendum on Saturday
Scenes at Dublin Castle following the result of the referendum on Saturday

Dublin had always been predicted to vote in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment.

But the emphatic nature of the vote - 75.5pc in favour of repeal - came as a surprise even to the Yes camp.

Across the country, nine of the 10 constituencies with the highest Yes vote were in Dublin, with Health Minister Simon Harris's Wicklow constituency the only one outside the capital to make the list.

Dublin Bay South, which includes areas such as Ranelagh, Rathmines, Sandymount and Ballsbridge, returned the highest margin of the referendum, with 78.5pc of people voting Yes.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, who represents the area, expressed surprise at the scale of the vote. He had long expected the result to be Yes but was taken aback by the magnitude of the win.

"It's been two months of knocking on doors and I didn't get that sense," he said. "I certainly got the sense that Dublin Bay South was going to pass but I didn't get a sense that it was going to pass by that big a margin."

Labour Senator Kevin Humphreys, a former TD for the area, told the Herald that the result had been a "long time coming".

Four other constituencies returned Yes votes above 75pc: Dun Laoghaire (77.1pc), Fingal (77pc), Dublin Central (76.5pc), and Dublin Rathdown (76.1pc).

Minister Richard Bruton, whose constituency of Dublin Bay North passed the referendum by a vote of 74.7pc to 25.3pc, said the result showed Ireland could tackle important issues with maturity. He was "very surprised" at the scale of the Yes vote nationally.


"A lot of us presumed on the doorstep that silent voters were No voters, when in fact a lot of them were Yes voters," he said.

Senator Kevin Humphreys
Senator Kevin Humphreys

In the Taoiseach's constituency of Dublin West, the referendum carried by 74.02pc.

Ahead of polling day a high turnout in Dublin, was considered a key factor in the success of the Yes vote.

On the day, more than 65pc of the electorate turned out to cast their ballot .

Despite the higher margin of victory for Yes in Dublin compared to the rest of the country, the overall result shows the urban-rural divide that emerged in the 1983 referendum which gave rise to the Eighth was not as pronounced this time out.

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