Irish voters are heading to the polls on Friday to vote in a landmark referendum on whether the country should liberalise some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. The campaign has dominated public debate in Ireland over recent months and has forced its nearly 3.5 million voters to decide if the constitutional ban on abortion should stay or go. Opinion polls have suggested the result could be close, with large numbers of undecided voters hanging in the balance. Ireland was traditionally one of the most staunchly Roman Catholic countries in Europe. However, the church’s influence has waned in recent years following a series of child sex abuse scandals. The referendum comes three years after Ireland voted to legalise same-sex marriage, in a seismic change for the EU nation. Voters have from 7:00 am (0600 GMT) until 10:00 pm on Friday to cast their ballots. The count is to begin at 9:00 am on Saturday, with the result expected to be announced at Dublin Castle later in the day. – Early votes on remote isles – Voters on 12 remote islands in the Atlantic Ocean went to the polls a day early on Thursday to ensure the ballot boxes could… Read full this story
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