A referendum on Ireland’s strict constitutional position on abortion will be held on Friday May 25, the Government has confirmed.
Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy officially signed the order to set the date of the vote. Polls will open at 7am and close at 10pm.
The move came after both houses of the Oireachtas in Dublin passed the legislation required to hold a referendum on the contentious issue.
Citizens will be asked whether they want to repeal the Eighth Amendment of Ireland’s Constitution, a provision that makes abortion illegal in all but exceptional circumstances.
The total electorate currently stands at around 3.2 million.
Mr Murphy said: “Whatever your views are on the proposals in the referendum, can I take this opportunity to encourage voters to go to their polling station during this 15-hour period on 25 May and have your say in the outcome of the referendum.”
Citizens will be asked whether they want to replace the Eighth Amendment, which gives the mother and unborn an equal right to life, with wording that hands responsibility for setting the country’s abortion laws to politicians.
If the public votes to repeal the constitutional provision, the Irish Government intends to table legislation that would permit women to abort within 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Mr Murphy encouraged eligible voters to make sure they are registered.
After the date was confirmed, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tweeted on Wednesday night: “On May 25th Irish people will have the chance to make change in our constitution – to trust women and trust doctors. A Yes vote will mean a safe, legal, doctor-led system for the termination of pregnancy will be introduced in Ireland #Together4Yes”