The Government has confirmed the referendum on the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution will be held on Friday 25 May.

It comes after the bill to hold a referendum passed all stages of the Seanad.

That cleared the way for the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, to set the date for the referendum.

Polling will be from 7am to 10pm and Minister Murphy has asked people to check that their names are on the register.

He said that if people have a postal vote, that will close on 28 April and if you are entitled to vote in the normal way the supplementary register will close on 8 May.

Mr Murphy asked people to make sure they are registered at checktheregister.ie and "go out and use your vote on Friday, May 25th."

He also said that the Referendum Commission has been established and was beginning its work now. 

"It is preparing very important factual information for the public," he said. 

40 Senators voted in favour of the Bill with ten voting against.

During the debate Labour Senator Ivana Bacik said there would be no legal vacuum if the Referendum is passed, and the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act would remain in force.

"Abortion will remain prohibited except where necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman," she told the house.

However, Independent Senator Rónán Mullen told Ms Bacik that this was a "life and death issue".

He also said politicians could not be trusted on the issue.

"Across the western world, politicians say one thing at election time...reassuring ordinary folk they support the right to life of the unborn but they do a very different thing when political convenience seems to indicate. They go on journeys without consulting two sides of the story," he said.

Fine Gael Senator Paul Coughlan said the bill would remove protection for the unborn, and would not replace it with anything.

"Worse that than, it proposes to follow it, if removed, with a bill providing for abortion without restriction up to 12 weeks and in some specific instances beyond that time," he said.

The leader of the Seanad, Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer told members that backstreet abortions are now permitted to take place through the use of abortion pills.

He also urged those on the other side of the debate not to engage in "cheap, headline grabbing comments."

He said he was a 2lb baby, born prematurely, who values and cherishes life.

"Don't accuse any of us who are in favour of repeal of lacking humanity or compassion or concern. That is cheap, headline grabbing comments," he told members.

Fianna Fáil Diarmuid Wilson said the Bill means that any parliament "can set any guidelines".

"We are told 12 weeks at present, this could be increased to six months, seven months, eight months. There is nothing to prevent that happening if we take the provision that is in Article 40.3.3 out [of the Constitution] and replace it with the line."

His Fianna Fáil colleague Senator Marc Daly said while he supported the bill to hold a referendum, he did not support unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks.

"The majority of people I speak to think the Government is going too far," he said.

Independent Senator Mary Alice Higgins appealed those who sought clarity over the Referendum Bill, to be very clear in what their own proposal entails.

She said if Article 40.3.3 is retained, regulations will not be brought in to deal with the hard cases because it would be constitutionally prohibitive.

She said a vote to retain the Eighth Amendment was a vote for the unknown, "where no one has to know the hard and difficult circumstances people face", she said.

Yesterday, the Cabinet approved the main points of the legislation on abortion that will be brought forward, if the Referendum on the Eighth Amendment is passed.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said his position on abortion reflects the views of many people in the country. 

Speaking on Newstalk, Mr Coveney said the Government now has a very comprehensive piece of legislation.

On his proposal for a two-thirds majority, he said that would have required a constitutional change and it would have required another referendum, which is not going to happen. 

Labour's Jan O'Sullivan has said the draft legislation that the Government intends to introduce if the referendum is passed, is assurance and clarity for voters.

She referred to Labour leader Brendan Howlin's comments that the referendum is a once in a generation opportunity.

She also said her party has not been provided with any information about the Government looking at further options if the referendum is passed.

Additional Reporting: Martina Fitzgerald, Conor McMorrow and Micheál Lehane