It is set for the end of May

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's confirmed the Cabinet has given approval for a referendum on the 8th amendment at the end of May.

He was speaking with Health Minister Simon Harris and Children's Minister Katherine Zappone tonight.

The question put to people will be to repeal the 8th amendment and insert an article into the Constitution, allowing the Oireachtas to legislate for abortion.

At an earlier Cabinet meeting, the Tánaiste Simon Coveney told colleagues he couldn't support the recommendation of allowing abortion for 12 weeks without restriction.

But he'll support repeal and all other committee recommendations.

Mr Varadkar said: "We know that thousands of Irish women - from every county in Ireland - go abroad for abortions every year.

"We know that many women are obtaining abortion pills through the post to end their pregnancies. So we have abortion in Ireland, but it is unsafe, unregulated and illegal.

"The question has to be a Yes or No one; do we reform our abortion laws or not?

"I will advocate for a Yes vote. My own views on abortion have evolved over time.

"Life experience does that. As Minister for Health I became convinced abortion had no place in the Constitution.

He explained: "If the referendum is passed, a doctor-led, safe and legal system for the termination of pregnancy will be introduced. Safe, legal and rare.

"No longer an article in the Constitution, but rather a private and personal matter for women and doctors.

"In recent weeks many people, mainly men, have spoken about the personal journeys they have been on.

"We should remember the saddest and loneliest journey is made by Irish women who travel to other countries in their thousands to end their pregnancies.

"These journeys don’t have to happen".