I'm delighted that the referendum passed and the bloody 8th Amendment has been repealed. Good riddance to bad rubbish! Legislation is due to be introduced soon. It's great! I can't quite believe it. I really thought that it would fail or just pass by one or two per cent. There was a referendum to introduce divorce a while back, which just passed by a mere 9,000 votes. I thought this would be the same - if we were lucky.
Boy, was I wrong! But in a good way. The exit poll results came through about ten minutes after the polling stations closed. I was on the phone to a friend at the time, who was in the middle of telling me tearfully how she'd been spat at and cold shouldered by No voters earlier that day while walking through her local village on the way to the polling station, and how she'd had to stop herself crying while actually voting. I was making sympathetic noises when I refreshed the Irish Times website, and hey presto - Irish Times exit poll projects Ireland has voted by a landslide to repeal the 8th. I told her about this and we were both so amazed. I mean, we never dreamt of a landslide!
Exit polls have been wrong before. Look at Brexit and the Trump election. We were on tenterhooks until late the next day when the official result was read out. We watched the counts progressing. We watched people leaving flowers and notes at the Savita Halapannavar mural in Dublin city. We were continuing to bite what was left of our nails. Eventually the result was announced at Dublin castle. It was official.
Mainly I felt a massive sense of relief and a bit of disbelief, which is slowly wearing off.
The joy will come later, once the result sinks in. And nothing is going to bring back Savita Halapannavar or Michelle Harte or Aisha Chithira or Sheila Hodgers or any of the other women who have died because of the 8th Amendment, or turn back the clock on all the women and girls who suffered because of it.
But still. This is a wonderful thing.