A LANDSLIDE victory in favour of changing Ireland’s abortion laws has been hailed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who said “trust in women” had won the day.

Crowds chanted the name of 31-year-old dentist Savita Halappanavar in the courtyard at Dublin Castle as news of the landslide victory in favour of repealing Ireland’s abortion laws was confirmed on Saturday.

Halappanavar died in 2012 after contracting sepsis during a miscarriage. Medics at the University Hospital Galway in Ireland failed to detect the seriousness of her condition and refused to carry out an abortion because they did not believe her life was at risk.

The high-profile case galvanised campaigners in Ireland to ramp up efforts to overturn Ireland’s strict abortion laws, which ultimately resulted in an overwhelming victory – 66.4 per cent to 33.6 per cent – in favour of abolishing the current system. The only constituency to vote no, narrowly, was Donegal in the north-west.

On Twitter, Sturgeon said: “Congratulations to @Together4yes and the people of Ireland. Compassion, justice and trust in women win the day.

“Joyful moment – but also one to remember the heartbreak for many along the way.”

The eighth amendment in Ireland’s constitution set into law the equal right to life for both pregnant women and unborn children. Pro-choice campaigners believe women must be given ultimate choice over what happens to their bodies and their pregnancies, while pro-life campaigners believe unborn babies should be afforded the same rights and status as citizens.

The campaign for reform in Ireland drew attention to numerous stories from women who’d had to travel to the UK to seek terminations. Ireland’s laws are so strict that even cases in which a foetus would not survive after birth would not warrant the procedure.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar hailed the culmination of a "quiet revolution" and said a new law could be in place before the end of the year, while referendum returning officer Barry Ryan said a majority of more than 700,000 voted Yes to repeal.

Varadkar said: "I believe today will be remembered as the day we embraced our responsibilities as citizens and as a country.

"The day Ireland stepped out from under the last of our shadows and into the light.

"The day we came of age as a country. The day we took our place among the nations of the world."

About two million people voted and results showed urban dwellers and a significant proportion of rural voters backed repealing the eighth amendment. In parts of Dublin almost 80 per cent favoured liberalising restrictions on abortion in early pregnancy.

There were emotional scenes late on Friday night at the headquarters of the Repeal campaign. Polls leading up to the vote had suggested the final result would be close. However, when voting closed on Friday exit polls predicted a clear majority in favour of reform.

Campaigners opposed to repealing the eighth amendment soon conceded defeat. The Save The 8th campaign said it was a “tragedy of historic proportions”, while John Deighan of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children in Scotland said: "It is a deeply sad day for Ireland and for the many millions around the world who have looked to the Emerald Isle as an inspiration for the value it once gave to all its children including those in their most vulnerable stage of life."

Last summer, the Scottish Government announced that women from Northern Ireland, where abortion is illegal without exceptional circumstances, were to be offered free abortions on the NHS in Scotland. Powers over abortion were devolved to Holyrood as part of the 2016 Scotland Act.

On Twitter, Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie said: “It's confirmed - Ireland has #RepealedThe8th by an almost perfect 2/3 majority! Many congratulations to the utterly inspiring @Together4yes campaigners! Still a lot of work to do, to get the legislation passed, achieve access to services... and let's not forget Northern Ireland!”