The people of Offaly have been going to the polls in huge numbers today as the country decides whether or not to repeal the 8th Amendment to the Constitution.
At 6pm, between 33% and 40% turnout has been reported at polling stations across the county. The turnout in Tullamore town itself is said to be nearing 40% with the evening rush yet to arrive.
There had been an early stream of voters making their way to the polling stations this morning with 10% turnout reported by 10am.
Forecasters are predicting the turnout in Offaly by 10pm when polls close will surpass the 60% recorded during the 2015 marriage referendum.
Turnout across the country has been developing at a similar rate and given the divisive nature of the debate on both sides, it is expected to draw a greater turnout than that 2015 vote.
The country is being asked whether or not to repeal the 8th Amendment which, interpreted by the Supreme Court, means that it is lawful for a pregnancy to be terminated only where the pregnancy poses a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother. This includes a risk of suicide.
A 'Yes' vote to remove the 8th Amendment, giving equal rights to the mother and unborn, would pave the way for the Oireachtas to legislate for termination of pregnancy. A 'No' vote would leave the Constitution and the 8th Amendment unchanged.
Offaly voters are reminded that polling stations remain open until 10pm.
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