No camp hit with 'vile abuse', claims Quinn
Published 23/05/2015 | 02:30
Leading members of the No campaign were intimidated and subjected to "vile and vitriolic abuse" throughout the run-up to the referendum, according to Iona Institute founder David Quinn.
Mr Quinn said the abuse was particularly evident on social media, where No campaigners would be targeted "all day long" because of their views.
Mr Quinn also claimed that an unprecedented level of vandalism involving No posters took place in this campaign.
"I'd say about 40pc of No side posters in Dublin were taken down or defaced, vandalised in various ways," Mr Quinn said, adding that very few Yes posters were interfered with.
But a leading member of the Yes campaign rejected suggestions that intimidation pervaded the campaign itself.
Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said that while the debate turned "passionate", it remained respectful.
"My sense of the campaign on the doorsteps across the city and beyond has been, for the most part, a very respectful debate, a passionate debate, in some cases quite an emotional debate, given the issues at hand.
"But I think we have had a free and open democratic conversation," she said.
"I don't believe there has been any form of intimidation whatsoever, that has been a very strong word to use. I haven't seen any evidence of that."
The Dublin Central TD said that she believed high-profile interventions in the campaign by the likes of former President Mary McAleese and TV3 journalist Ursula Halligan had an effect on voters.
"But I think also the personal testimonies of anonymous citizens, of regular people who have told the stories of their lives of growing up as a gay or lesbian person or parenting a gay of lesbian child...
"I think those testimonies were powerful," she added.
Log on to independent.ie for a full look back on the Marriage Equality referendum campaign with David Quinn and Mary Lou McDonald.