'Nothing is certain until the boxes are opened', says Leo Varadkar
Health Minister Leo Varadkar has warned that nothing can be taken for granted in the marriage equality referendum.
"It's Friday, people do tend to vote earlier," he said when asked about today's high turnout.
Speaking as he cast his vote, he told Independent.ie that turnout was currently ahead of where it had been for the Children’s Referendum.
However, Mr Varadkar, who is Ireland’s first openly gay minister, said: “You never really know what the people have said until those little bits of paper come out of the ballot box the morning of the count."
He told Independent.ie that in the last week of campaigning, he had seen many people find the courage to express themselves to their local communities, something, he said, would have been unlikely before this referendum.
“I’ve been out on the streets most nights with 50, 60 people, half of whom have never knock on anyone’s doors before.
“These are gay men and women who use to keep to themselves up until now. So, in that sense, it’s been remarkable.”
Expressing his surprise at the strong turn out by young voters, Mr Varadkar said there was something “special about this referendum”.
“This hasn’t been an ordinary referendum, it’s become a bit of a social movement,” he told Independent.ie.
“It’s something we’ve never seen before, parents being encouraged by their children to go out and vote. It’s a big moment I think.”