It was a momentous result after months of hard campaigning. A Catholic country which adopted a pro-life legislation following a papal visit in the 1970’s, comprehensively voted to make abortions legal.
As the dust settles there seems to be the usual murmurings from the losing side to the tune of: ‘we will continue the fight,’ or accusations of people being misled through misinformation, lies, propaganda.
One thing that’s curiously absent from the post-referendum debate are the immediate demands for a second one.
It seems as if the Irish have accepted the democratic result and, however hard it may be to swallow, are about to get on with it.
And this is quite remarkable when we fully consider just how engrained the actual pro-life law and accompanying mindset was in Ireland.
For 40 years not only were abortions illegal, but vast sways of the education system were geared towards promoting the fact.
Politicians, most columnists, priests, teachers and the law of the land were all on the same side.
And then it was all over; a generation or more’s understanding of what was morally and socially wrong was undone. What was once wrong was now right.
For forty years the UK, over the Irish Sea and contending with its own referendum hangover, has been joined to the EU. Almost every academic is pro-EU, add to that most politicians, public intellectuals, celebrities and business leaders.
It’s been engrained into us by the establishmentthat this is what’s right for us – but of course that all changed in June 2016.
Forty years of continued co-existence, free trade, freedom of movement, taking on thousands of laws from Brussels, came to an abrupt end.
But then the campaign for round two started in earnest.
Last week Mainstream reported on George Soros donating six million pounds to a campaign aiming to stop Brexit; Tony Blair, Gina Miller, Nick Clegg have all called for another go; and even the House of Lords is doing its best to keep the debate alive.
But the debate is finished – it in fact finished two years ago.
The result dwarfed anything we’ve ever seen before: 17.4 million people voted to leave the EU.
Perhaps we should look over the Irish Sea and take notes on how an emotive campaign which divided sections of society, can be held, debated rigorously, and then implemented.
Perhaps we will look back on this period with regret that without properly healing about June 2016, we offered the world nothing more than a divided country, something which held us back in making the best deals that would benefit Britain post-Brexit.
The Irish, similar to us, have had a momentous social shift brought about by a referendum; they have however, shown that respecting democracy is the best chance of a nation reuniting and progressing into the future.
Thanks to those who refuse to accept democracy in the UK, we are currently a long way off from the Irish: it’s time we learnt from them.