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Sunday 4 December 2016

New book to tell inside story of historic 'Yes Equality' campaign

Published 09/08/2015 | 02:30

The inside story of how Ireland voted Yes to Gay Marriage on May 22 last is to be told in book form, the Sunday Independent has learned.

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It is believed the book will tell the story of the historic campaign and will focus on the last 100 days. It will explore the campaign strategies used by the campaign to mobilise "the largest and most successful" civic movement in Irish history.

Particularly, it will discuss how the campaign drew on a Scottish referendum slogan to formulate its "I am voting Yes, ask me why" message, as well as the success of personal stories in shaping the debate.

The book, to be published by the Merrion Press, will be authored by leading Yes Equality campaigners Grainne Healy, of Marriage Equality, Brian Sheahan, of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, and Noel Whelan, barrister and political columnist.

The book is due to be published in November. It is understood that the authors, who were the key decision-makers on the Yes Equality side, were approached immediately after the end of the campaign in late May to do the book.

The book will detail how the campaign began on a shoe-string and grew into a national political organisation within a matter of weeks.

It is understood that the book Ireland Says Yes - The Inside Story of How the Vote for Marriage Equality Was Won will also reveal in detail how the Yes Equality campaign dealt with personalised attacks and erroneous arguments from No Campaigners.

The book will detail how the campaign had to overcome the issue of surrogacy and how they devised their strategy for the crucial TV debates.

The authors will give their account of how the Irish abroad formed an international odyssey that became the '#hometovote' movement which resulted in thousands of emigrants returning home to cast their ballot.

But they will also recall the impact on public opinion of the various coming-out stories which happened during the campaign or just before it, including those of Health Minister Leo Varadkar, former Fianna Fail minister Pat Carey, TV3 political correspondent Ursula Halligan and Fine Gael general secretary Tom Curran, who spoke about his faith and his son.

The book is also expected to detail how social media was used as a major communications tool to mobilise a new generation of voters to the polls and how political parties, student unions and youth groups co-ordinated their efforts in the quest for victory.

"It describes the strategies, the personalities, the key arguments and campaign techniques that delivered one of the most historic referendum results in Irish political history," a source has said.

Sunday Independent

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