Almost 123,000 Tipperary people are preparing to go to the polls in Friday's referendum on the Eighth Amendment.
Almost 123,000 Tipperary people are preparing to go to the polls in Friday's referendum on the Eighth Amendment and the expectation is that the turnout will be much higher than both the Marriage Equality Referendum of 2015 and the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Referendum of 2001.
After weeks of debate and discussion, the polling stations will finally open across the Premier County at 7:00am on Friday morning and will remain open until 10:00pm.
The count centre for the constituency will be located in the Presentation Secondary School Sportshall on Saturday morning and a result from the constituency is expected sometime mid-afternoon on Saturday.
Given the level of detailed debate associated with this referendum, it is expected that the turnout will be very considerable and much higher than the 41% which turned out in Tipperary for the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Referendum in 2001 - the county was divided into south and north at the time.
There was a 60% turnout for the Marriage Equality Referendum three years ago in 2015, but it is anticipated that the turnout for Friday's referendum will be more like the 70% which turned out for the General Election in 2016 - and possibly even higher.
There are more than 10,000 extra people registered to vote in the referendum in comparison to the General Election, with 3,423 having been added by way of a supplementary register. The register, which was published on February 1st, indicated that a grand total of 122,780 are entitled to have their say by casting their vote in Tipperary on Friday.
Schools, community centres, halls and other public buildings are being utilised throughout Tipperary as polling centres and there will be a strong presence of officials and Gardai at the polling stations and in the count centre on Saturday. The ballot boxes will be secured and brought to the centre, accompanied by Gardai for protection, in accordance with protocol and procedure and will then be opened on Saturday morning when counting commences at 9:00am.
Access to the count centre will be open to the public and passes for entry will not be required, according to the office of the Register of Electors at the Courthouse in Clonmel. There will be parking spaces available close to the site for those who will attend and it is expected that there will be a considerable turnout at the count centre for the announcement of the result.