Irish citizens are travelling #HomeToVote ahead of Friday's abortion referendum

Irish citizens are travelling #HomeToVote ahead of Friday's abortion referendum

Irish citizens living around the globe have been sharing their #HometoVote stories, as they travel back to Ireland ahead of the country's historic abortion referendum on Friday.

Tomorrow, voters will take to the polls to decide whether the Eighth Amendment, which bans access to abortions, should be repealed. At present, abortion is illegal in Ireland unless the mother's life is in imminent danger, with equal right to life given to a foetus as to any other individual.

In the event of a yes vote, the Irish government is proposing that it would allow abortion in cases where there the mother's life is at risk, in the case of a fatal foetal abnormality, or up to 12 weeks without justification.

Among the starting destinations for people's journeys were Sweden, Los Angeles, Toronto and Thailand. One man even tweeted a photograph of himself travelling on a night bus to Tokyo, Japan, so that he could catch a flight back to Ireland.

In what is perhaps another indication of how many people wanted to have their say, one Twitter user revealed that he had met multiple other people making the exact same journey as him, commenting: "Was actually so humbled and relieved to meet four other Irish people on the flight from Buenos Aires to London, all of them flying onwards to Dublin today or tomorrow to #voteyes. #hometovote #together4yes"

Many have taken to wearing #HomeToVote garb on their flights, with some people saying that they had been provided with badges by total strangers.

Also among those sharing stories were parents collecting their sons and daughters from the airport. One mum recounted how her son was so keen to vote that he used his birthday money to get home, while another said that their daughter was taking leave without pay in order to make the journey.

Some, however, were quick to call out airlines for raising prices in the days before the referendum. Fortunately for those who could not afford a flight themselves, others were keen to chip in to fund their journey back to Ireland in order to make it possible.

The #HometoVote movement, which has supporters from both the Save the 8th and the Repeal the 8th campaigns, is especially pertinent given that thousands of Irish women are believed to travel abroad to undergo terminations every year.

The movement is similar to that which sprung up ahead of the 2015 referendum which led to the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

Considered by many to be a once-in-a-generation vote, the Eighth Amendment was introduced after a 1983 referendum on the matter. As such, no one who is under the age of 54 has been able to have their say on this issue before.