Scramble for votes ahead of tomorrow's referendum poll

Scramble for votes ahead of tomorrow's referendum poll

The No Campaign canvassers present their message on Patrick Street yesterday.

AS the campaign around tomorrow’s referendum on the Eighth amendment reaches its final hours, canvassers on both sides feel their arguments will carry the day.

Shoppers who thronged Patrick Street in the sunshine yesterday were met with smiling leafleters every few feet, calling for either a Yes or No vote.

Tomorrow the electorate will be asked whether or not they are in favour of removing the Eighth Amendment, which prevents abortion in Ireland in most circumstances.

The Cork Together For Yes and Save The Eighth campaign groups set up stalls within yards of each other, both handing out badges and leaflets and chatting with potential voters.

Some of the repeal the Eighth campaign supporters on Patrick Street yesterday.
Some of the repeal the Eighth campaign supporters on Patrick Street yesterday.

Anna Kingston, one of a number of volunteers manning the Together For Yes stand, said they are still answering lots of questions.

“We have had doctors here and people seem reassured to be getting answers from GPs about concerns they have, it has been fantastic,” she said.

“We will be here again tomorrow and have canvassers out around the city and county, we will keep at it and will be doing it on Friday too.”

Rebecca Kealy of Save the Eighth said they are equally busy: “We have been holding street sessions during the day and then leafleting and going to the doors at night.”

Many polls on the issue have shown an unusually high number of undecided voters but campaigners say this is not as evident in the final days, as people make up their minds.

“We are after seeing a huge shift on the doors in the last couple of days,” Ms Kealy said. “It is the silent no, there are people passing who are nearly hiding their thumbs up or winking and nudging. I feel that is what is going to win it for us.”

Conor Payne of activist group ROSA, who was at a separate stall campaigning for a yes vote, felt the opposite.

“I think there is a very strong yes vote out there,” he said. “A lot of people are coming up to us on the street today, volunteering that they are voting yes, a lot of badges and thumbs up.”

At the end of the day, badges and leaflets are not votes and all the campaigners said getting the voters to show up at the polls on Friday would be crucial.

“A lot will depend on getting people out to vote,” Mr Payne said. “A lot of what we will be doing in the next few days will be mobilising people to get out.”

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