Over the last few days, thousands of Irish people have flocked home to exercise their right to vote in today's referendum. However there are an even larger diaspora who have either been living abroad for too long to be eligible to vote, were unable to get the time off work, or simply didn't have the funds to return home.
Last night we received a message from one such person, a midwife, unable to get back to Ireland to cast her vote. Working in a country that has abortion laws similar to what Ireland aspires to have should a 'Yes' vote be in the majority today, she wrote to us on why it is imperative that Ireland's draconian abortion legislation is over-turned.
Read her moving letter below.
I wish I could be at home tomorrow to exercise my right to vote.
However, I will be working as a midwife in a maternity unit. Tomorrow, like every other day, I will ensure that all the women who walk through the doors of this ward have a choice over what they do with their own bodies and lives.
When you go into work each day, only gods knows what you will be faced with, ensuring the happy birth of a long awaited beautiful baby; fast-paced emergencies, in which one wrong move could jeopradise the safety of a woman and her unborn child; helping a woman with a drug problem or a violent partner seek help and shelter; comforting those who have lost their beautiful babies and are in mourning, or supporting those who have had to make the difficult decision to terminate their pregnancy - many of whom have made the journey from Ireland.
Regardless of the unique, and often traumatic, uncertainties we encounter each day in this job, one thing will remain ever constant.
That constant factor is the support we will have for the women we meet, their stories and the choices they make. All the women we deal with will be fully informed of the options that are available to them and they will be fully supported, cared for and respected.
Their choice about what happens to them and their bodies - not my opinions - will lay the foundation of the the care that they will graciously receive.
Regardless of what they do or decide, I will hold their hands and help and guide them through their respective decisions. My opinions or my own beliefs do not, or never should, affect a woman's right to choice.
It's not about "what I would do" it's about helping women in what they have decided to do.
I hope that, after tomorrow, the women of Ireland will be afforded the same choices and trust that is placed in the women I will meet today.
Polling stations will be open around the country until 10pm, be sure to exercise your right to vote while you have a chance.