Since Ireland voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment in a referendum last month, pressure has been mounting for Northern Ireland to change its restrictive abortion laws.
Unlike the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland will not need to have a referendum on the matter — which can be decided by their Assembly. However, the Assembly has been suspended since early 2017, as parties in the North struggle to come to a power-sharing agreement.
Speaking to Sky News, Arlene Foster has said that the DUP would become more popular as a result of Sinn Féin’s increasingly liberal stance on abortion.
Foster claims she has heard from many voters “who feel so very strongly about this issue that they will cast their vote on that basis”.
She said: “I have had emails from people in the Republic of Ireland feeling very disenfranchised about what has happened in the Republic of Ireland.
“I have had emails from Nationalists and Republicans in Northern Ireland not quite believing what is going on and saying they will be voting for the DUP because they believe we are the only party that supports the unborn.”
In the Republic, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald campaigned strongly in favour of a Yes vote.
Foster also had harsh words for the reactions of many Irish people to last weekend’s referendum result: “It certainly does not deserve some of the antics that we’ve seen recently frankly and I did find it, I have to say, quite distasteful to see people dancing about on the streets in relation to the referendum result.”