The referendum bill passed through the Seanad today

The referendum on the Eighth Amendment will be held on Friday May 25th.

The date for the historic abortion referendum was confirmed after the referendum bill was passed through the Seanad this afternoon.

It was passed by 40 votes to 10 in the upper house.

Members of the public will be asked whether to repeal the amendment, which recognises the right to life of the unborn, and allow the Oireachtas to legislate on abortion.

The Government has proposed draft laws which it plans to introduce if the referendum is passed.

They would allow abortions to be carried out by medical practitioners up to 12 weeks gestation.

A three-day cooling off period would be required from when a woman seeks an abortion to when she gets the pill.

The scheme also says abortions after 12 weeks will only be available in exceptional circumstances - in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, or when there is serious risk to the health or life of the woman.