Donegal has officially returned a no vote in the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.
The county was one of the last to officially count the vote after a day of drama at the Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny.
Confusion reigned as count centre staff packed away tables and chairs and crowd control barriers before any result was revealed.
When returning officer Geraldine O’Connor finally spoke, she revealed that the votes for the no campiagn was 35,091 and the yes campaign was 32,559 out of an overall valid poll of 67,650 votes.
The total electorate was 118,901 making the turn-out approximately 57% with 189 invalid votes.
Voting in many towns and villages across the county was marginal, often down to just a few votes.
Throughout the day the feeling was always that the no campaign would always just shade it in Donegal.
Deputy Thomas Pringle insisted that the yes campaign had still done enough to swing the vote and predicted a 52.5% in favour of the yes campaign.
That prediction never transpired, however.
Senator Padraig Mac Lochlainn, a strong yes campaigner, said the closeness of the vote is a huge victory for those supporting the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment.
“This referendum touches on the cornerstone of how so many socio conservative people feel.
“The fact that almost 50% of people have voted yes is a victory for the yes campaign in Donegal,” he said.
He said that going into the vote he would have been happy if the yes vote in Donegal had recorded a 40% vote.
He referred to the 1983 vote to put the Eighth Amendment into the constitution.
“Back then Donegal voted by almost 85% to put the amendment into our constitution.
“That is a huge swing today. While the tallying is far from finished here, it does look like the no vote will shade it here in Donegal.
“But overall in Donegal, I would say that we have a victory for the yes campaign here in Donegal,” he said.
No campaign voter Tim Jackson described this as the darkest day in Irish history.
Wearing a Donegal GAA jersey, the outspoken campaigner from Ballybofey said today’s vote would be felt for generations to come.
Jackson famously heckled Health Minister Simon Harris during a live press conference in the lead-up to the vote.
He said “I am glad that the people of Donegal have seen sense today and voted against killing their own children.
“But for the rest of the country to vote en masse for killing human beings for generations to come long after they are gone to me makes this the darkest day in Irish history.”