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Senator Catherine Noone, chairwoman of an Oireachtas committee which recommended the abortion law changes, tweeted: "I'm feeling very emotional tonight - we are a great, compassionate people".

RTE's exit poll showed a similar split on the vote, with an estimated 69.4% voting "Yes" and 30.6% voting "No", according to the exit poll. The Women's RIghts Foundation, a Maltese non-governmental organisation that has supported the Irish Yes vote, said it will refrain from commenting until the Irish referendum results are official.

Another referendum was held in 2002, which tried to remove suicide as grounds for abortion, but it was ultimately rejected with over 50 per cent voting No.

A "no" vote would preserve the 1983 amendment that recognizes the "right to life of the unborn", effectively equating the life of a fetus with the life of a mother.

So the Irish people were asked if they wanted to remove the Eighth Amendment and allow politicians to set the country's abortion laws in the future. In the weeks leading up to the election, there were concerns that foreign entities, including groups in the U.S., were trying to influence Irish voters.

The Irish prime minister has hailed his country's "quiet revolution" as early results point to a "resounding" vote for overturning the abortion ban.

The ballot paper did not mention the Eighth Amendment or abortion, instead asking: "Do you approve of the proposal to amend the Constitution contained in the undermentioned Bill?"

In 2013, the law was changed to permit abortions when doctor felt a woman's life might be at risk. Government-transparency group Transparent Referendum Initiative and UK-based news org openDemocracy also exposed a slew of Facebook ads run in Ireland, purchased by non-Irish accounts.

Four thousand voters were interviewed as they left polling stations during the day on Friday. The country's deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, said, "Thank you to everybody who voted today - democracy can be so powerful on days like today - looks like a stunning result that will bring about a fundamental change for the better".

In Ireland, abortion is only allowed when the mother's life is in immediate danger-and sometimes even then it has been denied.

#RepealThe8th, promoted by those who are pro-choice (against abortion ban), has been used nearly 90,000 times on Instagram, and even more times on Twitter and Facebook. Ireland is one of the few countries in the European Union that does not allow those overseas to vote via post or in embassies.

Among the youngest voters, 18-24-year-olds, the poll found that 87 percent of respondents voted to allow abortion. With a turnout of 53 per cent which amounted to 1.2 million people, almost 67 per cent voted Yes and over 33 per cent voted No. The jail term for abortions in Ireland is imprisonment of up to 14 years.

"Yes" campaigners argued that with over 3,000 women travelling to Britain each year for terminations - a right enshrined in a 1992 referendum - and others ordering pills illegally online, abortion is already a reality in Ireland.