Monday 24 October 2016

Young actress Saoirse Ronan 'honoured' that her first vote will be for marriage equality

Published 17/05/2015 | 14:15

Academy Award-nominated actress Saoirse Ronan says she is excited and honoured that her first vote will be for marriage equality.

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The 21-year-old Carlow native is eager to encourage her fellow young people to get out and vote this Friday in the Marriage Equality referendum.

Speaking at the Yes Equality 'Your Yes Matters get out the vote' campaign launch, Ms Ronan said this is an opportunity for her generation to create a fair and equal society.

"I'm really excited about it and I'm really honoured that my first vote is going to be a yes vote for marriage equality," she said.

Actress Saoirse Ronan is backing a yes vote. Photo: Jason Kennedy
Actress Saoirse Ronan is backing a yes vote. Photo: Jason Kennedy

"If it's a yes vote it means we're standing with the best of them. We're forward-thinking, we're fair, we're just and we're equal. If we don't, then we're none of those things and I would be extremely disappointed."

Joining the actress were Steven Mannion and Eamon Farrell, who have been married for six years. They want to know there'll be safety there if something were to happen to one of them, according to Mr Farrell, who is a brother of Hollywood actor Colin Farrell.

"I'm 15 years older than Steven and someday in our lives, Steven will be on his own. I really want him to have the constitutional protection that a marriage will afford him."

The couple, who were married in Cannes, added that their Sandymount neighbours have actively come out in supporting them since the campaign took off.

Mr Farrell said he is delighted with how active Colin has been in backing a yes vote.

"He's done so much over the last few years. He's done so much over my life in supporting me. He's an amazing brother." 

Saoirse, Eamon and Steven launched the get out the vote campaign, which is the largest ever get out the vote operation for a referendum. The first part of this campaign is, which reminds people to vote on Friday.

Yes Equality spokesperson Brian Sheehan is encouraging everyone who intends to vote to plan when they will vote and how the will get there.

 “We ask all people voting YES to plan their day around the time they expect to vote next Friday. People who plan how and when to vote are 30pc more likely to actually cast their ballot," he said.

"Every individual vote will matter in securing the passage of the Marriage Equality referendum. We need each and every person who is voting Yes to use their vote."

Meanwhile the Union of Students in Ireland has launched its initiative to drive young people to the polling stations.

The student group launched, which aims to facilitate students in carpooling and offering lifts. it also provides links to various transport options so students can plan their voting journey. People can also use the hashtag #VoterMotor on Twitter to publicise lifts and places they are travelling to this Friday.

The USI's President Laura Harmon said students and young people can make a big impact on the referendum's result.

“Thousands of students will be travelling all over the country on Friday to vote. This year saw nearly 28,000 new student voters directly registered by USI and over 10,000 additional forms were given out," she said.

"Students are enthusiastic about voting in the marriage equality referendum and we expect queues of students casting their vote this Friday."

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