Saturday 3 December 2016

It is that rarest of things: a positive day in Irish politics

Young people have claimed a leading role in public life

Published 23/05/2015 | 13:27

Brian McMahon with his daughter Lucy waiting for the reults of same-sex marriage referendum at Dublin Castle.
Pic:Mark Condren
Brian McMahon with his daughter Lucy waiting for the reults of same-sex marriage referendum at Dublin Castle. Pic:Mark Condren

Six minutes after the count staff began opening ballot boxes, Kevin Humphreys and his trusty band of tally people did the business.

  • Go To

“It’s ‘Yes’ – and by a tonne,” the Dublin South East Labour TD confirmed at the Dublin city count centre.

He topped his two previous best times for calling a national result via his “bellweather” sample of local boxes which mirror the national trend.

Humphreys did 9.15am in October 2013 to predict the Seanad referendum was lost. In October 2011 he told us at 9.10am that Michael D Higgins would be President of Ireland.

From that time onwards, all the talk at the Dublin city count centre was about extraordinary results being picked up from all across the country. People were consulting smart phones to call out how places considered “rural” and “conservative” were backing same-sex marriage.

Across the globe the message was beamed by the tribes of international scribes who had descended upon Dublin. “Ireland is first place in the world to popularly vote for same-sex marriage.”

For several hours nobody from the “No” camp could be found at the count centre. But long before that word came across on national radio that David Quinn of the Iona Institute had conceded that the “Yes” campaign had carried the day.

The broader implications will take a little time to sink in. But for now it is that rarest thing of all in Irish politics: it’s a positive day.

The overwhelmingly vibe is that younger Irish people have claimed a big role in Irish public life. The irony is that the second referendum, on lowering the age to stand for president from 35 years to 21, looked set to be lost by a big margin.

But positive days are rare in Irish politics. It is time to savour it all.

Good luck to the minority “No” campaigners who were heavily out-numbered.

Irish voters simply responded overwhelmingly to the many personal stories from gay people who asked with passion and commitment for the right to marry.

The answer is a resounding “Yes!”

Online Editors

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News