Tuesday 27 September 2016

Last push as Yes side warns it's not in the bag yet

Published 22/05/2015 | 02:30

Brian Sheehan, Yes Equality co-ordinator and Grainne Healy, Yes Equality co-director, with members of Yes Equality on a ‘Final Push’ before polling day in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Frank McGrath
Brian Sheehan, Yes Equality co-ordinator and Grainne Healy, Yes Equality co-director, with members of Yes Equality on a ‘Final Push’ before polling day in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Frank McGrath

When even the Taoiseach and Tánaiste decide to drop in unannounced to a photocall, you know the final push is really on and that the stakes remain high.

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As Yes campaigners prepared to hit the pavement for the last few hours in an attempt to convince those crucial, still-undecided voters, they joined together in a burst of high spirits and nervous tension on the streets of the capital.

High-profile equality campaigners like Eamon Farrell, brother of actor Colin; former Minister Pat Carey; Senator Katherine Zappone; Senator Averil Power; Fergus Finlay from Barnardos and political analyst Noel Whelan were among those who had turned out one last time to urge a Yes vote in a photo-session full of high jinks and giggles.

Offered a bag of 'Love Bite' cookies, Enda immediately turned and offered them to Joan Burton. "They're for you," he said solemnly.

Asked for a comment, former Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore kept it short and sweet: "Vote yes."

"It's not over the line by any means - we're still dependent on a high turnout," warned campaigner Walter Jayawardene of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.

Noel Whelan said the situation had "tightened" but that the Yes majority is there. He believes that by 9.30am tomorrow morning, the picture of how it's all going to turn out will be clear.

"We'll know whether it's yes, no, or whether it's close," he said. "We will also know early if the young and the new voters turned out," he added.

However, he said it was wrong to assume that older people living in rural areas are going to vote No.

Mr Whelan also expressed distrust at the "rumour" that young people who had registered on the electoral register believed that this was the same thing as casting their vote.

"I've heard this, but I think it's being very unfair to young people," he said.

Eamon Farrell revealed that he has been getting a great reaction while out canvassing with his husband of six years, Stephen Mannion, and voters meet them together and "see the reality of it and see we are not any way different to anybody else".

But it's not over, and they will continue to campaign until ten o'clock tonight.

"There's so much kindness out there and people are ready for change," he said.

However, campaigner Ross Golden Bannon said that having grown up in Howth, and having gone out canvassing there, it has been "very, very tough" to have people saying no to him on their doorsteps.

And he claims it has not been a rural /urban divide but a class divide, with working class communities far more open and accepting of the Yes to Equality campaign.

Irish Independent

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