The silent vote will decide the outcome of this referendum

The silent vote will decide the outcome of this referendum

If the No side prevails, the backlash from modern Ireland will focus angrily on Fianna Fáil

As we embark on the final phase of the campaign, the Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, will be praying for a Yes vote in the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. I wrote at the time of his surprising intervention in the Dáil debate, and that his stance in favour of repeal, in terms of his party’s electoral impact in urban Ireland, was inspired. It should not be inferred that only electoral implications led him to advocate a Yes vote. However, 35 years after the two main parties allowed themselves to be bullied into enshrining in the Constitution a measure that the then attorney general, Peter Sutherland, advised would only cause difficulty, a Fianna Fáil leader advocating repeal seemed to reflect a less cowed and more compassionate Ireland.

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