The Citizens' Assembly has voted to replace or amend the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. However its members have voted against repealing the controversial section of the Constitution, which gives equal rights to the unborn. 

The Assembly's decisions so far would require a new referendum on abortion.

The Assembly voted to replace or amend the article in the Constitution which strictly limits the availability of legal abortion in Ireland.

Of the 91 members who voted in the forum's second ballot, 44% voted to repeal or delete Article 40.3.3 of the basic law.

But 56% voted in favour of replacing or amending it.

Two members preferred not to state an option.

Earlier, the assembly voted by an overwhelming majority to recommend that a referendum should be held on the constitutional strict limitations on abortion in Ireland.

13% of Assembly members present voted to retain Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution in its entirety, while 87% voted against the proposition.

Announcing the result, the Chair of the Assembly, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy, said that if the Oireachtas passed the same resolution it would lead to a referendum on the issue.

In a third ballot this afternoon, the Assembly voted to explicitly authorise the Dáil and Seanad to legislate on Article 40.3.3.

By a majority of 57% to 43%, the Assembly rejected a proposal that a new constitutional provision should replace the current restrictions in the Eighth Amendment.

Although the Assembly has provision for a membership of 100, five had stepped down before today's meeting and a further four were absent this morning. Just before lunch, Ms Justice Laffoy announced that one of those was now in attendance.

The conclusions and recommendations by the Assembly in relation to Ireland's legal restrictions on abortion will be the basis of a report for submission to the Houses of the Oireachtas.

This weekend's meeting is the fifth and final meeting of the Assembly, which previously met to continue its considerations of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which defends the right to life of the unborn with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother.

Once the Assembly is finished this weekend, Ms Justice Laffoy will begin work on the final report. The result of the voting will be the most important content of the report.

The finalised report will be circulated to assembly members before being presented to the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The report is due to be finalised at the end of June.