The result would pave the way for radically permissive laws in the country

Two exit polls suggest the Irish have overwhelmingly voted against keeping the Eighth Amendment to their constitution, paving the way for the introduction of radically permissive abortion laws.

At the close of polling, one survey by Ipsos/MRBI put the “Yes” to repeal side ahead by 68 per cent to 32. Another by television network RTE put the margin at 69.4 to 30.6.

Official counting of the ballots will begin on Saturday at 9am local time.

John McGuirk, communications director for the “Save the 8th” campaign took to Twitter to say: “The 8th did not create an unborn child’s right to life – it merely acknowledged it.

“The right exists, independent of what a majority says. That said, with a result of that magnitude, clearly there was very little to be done. Thank you to every NO voter and campaigner.”