The Dáil is expected to progress the Abortion Referendum Bill this afternoon following a late-night debate last night.
TDs sat until close to midnight in an effort to get the legislation passed quickly – with a May referendum dependent on the bill being signed into law before Easter.
The Government has prioritised the May date in order to ensure that students will have the opportunity to vote.
If the bill is progressed as expected this lunchtime, it will pass to committee stage this evening.
Closing out last night’s debate, Health Minister Simon Harris praised TDs for the tone of the debate.
“I think it has been a continuation of a respectful debate,” he said.
“I think that is important; I think it is important that we set the tone in this house that we hope when the debate leaves this house, it is the tone that can be continued.
“There will be plenty of time to tease out the issues; to discuss the issues.”
The 8th amendment provides for the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn in the Constitution.
The bill TDs are debating will outline the exact wording of the question that is to be put to the electorate.
Voters will be asked whether to retain or repeal the 8th amendment – with the Oireachtas empowered to legislate in the event of repeal.
During the debate last night, pro-choice TDs warned that retaining the Eighth Amendment would see the country continuing to criminalise women who take abortion pills.
Anti-abortion TDs meanwhile warned that removing the right to life of the unborn was one of a number of government policies that hurt children.