The people of Cork and Ireland have voted for ‘healthcare without Ryanair’ according to Cork South West TD Jim Daly.
The Fine Gael TD was the only one of three TDs in the electoral area to support repeal of the Eighth Amendment but voters backed it almost two to one. The turnout in Cork South West was one of the highest in country, at 67%, and 64.51% of those voted yes.
The final vote in Cork East was very similar, with 64.1% voting yes and 39.9% voting no. The Yes vote was slightly lower in Cork North West, where turnout was just under 66%, but the yes side still had a comfortable majority, of just over 60%.
Mr Daly expressed his pride in the people of West Cork and said, while the size of the vote was unexpected, he had believed a yes vote would carry the day.
“I genuinely believed all along in people’s capacity to have the necessary courage and compassion to face this very difficult issue,” he said. “This was an issue that needed to be brought home. We have brought it home and we need to legislate. We can no longer hide under English law, Irish law has to stand up.”
His constituency colleague Michael Collins had been a strong advocate of a no vote but told the Evening Echo he would respect the will of the voters.
“My views are strong and deep in relation to abortion,” he said. “I can’t see myself supporting it but it would be unfair of me to make a final decision before seeing the legislation.
“But I will not be holding this legislation up in any way. The people have made their voice clear and I accept that.”
At the Ballincollig count centre, tally coordinator Ken Curtin said he was blown away by the level of support right across the county.
“One leapt out at me earlier was Goleen,” he said. “People talked about rural Ireland voting no, it doesn’t get much more rural than beautiful Goleen. It was approaching 90% yes.
“The other one that’s stood out for me personally, as I come from there was Kilmichael, near Macroom. That went yes, and knowing the demographics and people of the area, that is beyond amazing.
A small number of individual polling stations returned a no vote.
“There has been a small smattering of boxes that were majority no, they were mainly rural areas with a small number of voters and with an ageing population,” Mr Curtin said. It isn’t so much a rural divide as the age, which would tally with the exit poll. Saying that, there were a lot of older people quietly backing yes, it is important to reflect them too.” He said the results were a sign of huge change in Cork voters’ views over the years.
“Bearing in mind that Cork North West and South West would be seen as two of the most conservative constituencies in the country, this is gigantic, he said. “To put it in context, Cork North West voted against the right to travel, and now they are 60% yes.”
Cork East TD David Stanton was also a time the count centre and said the ‘decisive’ victory was not a complete surprise.
“A lot of people that I met and spoke to privately did indicate that they were voting yes, but also said it was a very private matter,” he said. “I did feel from speaking with friends, supporters and others that very few people were voting no. There were people I was surprised at, who said they would vote yes.
“The people have spoken and made a decision.”