Abortion Referendum 1983

30 years ago tomorrow, on 7 September 1983, a referendum on abortion was held in Ireland. A new amendment to the Irish Constitution was proposed to clarify and uphold the existing legal ban on abortion. It was carried by 841,233 votes to 416,136.

Jim Fahy reports for 'Day by Day' from Tuam, Co. Galway on 5 September 1983, two days before the referendum is due to take place. He has attended a sermon at Tuam Cathedral, delivered by local curate Fr Joe Cooney, who explained the Catholic position on the right to life of mother and child. Afterwards, local people gave Fahy their reaction to the sermon and their thoughts on the referendum. Fahy spoke to between 60 and 70 people and estimates that 80% of them were for the amendment and 20% against.

Jim Fahy became RTÉ's first western correspondent in 1974. He retired in 2011. The accompanying image shows him in 1980. © RTÉ Archives 0661/063



This image shows Tuam Cathedral in 1978. The photographer was Des Gaffney. © RTÉ Archives 2248/019

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