Monday 5 December 2016

Arts world comes together to support Yes vote

Jerome Reilly and Ralph Riegel

Published 17/05/2015 | 02:30

Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof

The four members of U2 and 68 other well-known figures from the arts have called for a Yes vote in the forthcoming referendum on marriage equality as the Taoiseach warned against complacency ahead of the vote,.

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Among the signatories to a letter published in The Irish Times yesterday are actor Jeremy Irons, film director Neil Jordan and the popular fiction writer Cecilia Ahern, daughter of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Also calling for the referendum to be passed are playwright Sebastian Barry, novelist Anne Enright, poet Paul Durcan and Live Aid founder Sir Bob Geldof.

Musicians Glen Hansard, Christy Moore and Sinead O'Connor join writers Colm Toibin and Joseph O'Connor as signatories.

Yesterday Taoiseach Enda Kenny warned against complacency and urged the electorate to vote Yes in the marriage equality referendum.

Speaking in Cork as the Naval Service vessel LE Eithne set sail for the Mediterranean on a humanitarian rescue mission, Mr Kenny admitted that he is concerned about the narrowing gap in the referendum.

"It cannot be passed unless people vote for it. That means not only should they have an interest in this but they have got to go out to the polling station, get their ballot paper and mark it.

"That is how referenda are passed in any case," the Taoiseach said, adding: "Of course the history of referenda in this country is that you have significant numbers who voted against every referenda."

"This is always an issue in every referendum. I remember in the Children's Referendum you have 25pc of people voting against. There can be no complacency whatsoever in this."

Mr Kenny made a special appeal to those who have not yet made up their minds.

"Everybody who is considering their view, everybody who is absorbing the information, this is their opportunity to actually open their doors to equality. This is only about civil marriage and it is important to say that."

Mr Kenny said Irish voters needed to understand the importance of the May 22 ballot for a significant minority of Irish people.

"This is a really sensitive and important issue. Any time a person goes to Croke Park, 10pc of that crowd are gay people.

"That is the general average in Ireland. Are we in 2015, are we going to have a situation where we deny the right of people, men and women, who have a love for each other to sign a civil contract in civil law to extend the institution of marriage to them? It will strengthen it. We cannot leave them in limbo."

"But it can only happen if the Irish people vote for it."

Mr Kenny said the people should understand the power of their vote. "They have the power to give and they have the power to refuse," he said.

Sunday Independent

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