A new dawn - whatever the future holds for us
We are finally becoming a nation more at ease with itself on issues of social morality, writes Gerard O'Regan
Of all the words spoken, and all the arguments made, during the course of the marriage referendum debate, none was more pivotal than the contribution of former President Mary McAleese.
Hers was a very personal and human story, made all the more potent because of her deeply held Catholic beliefs. The fact that she felt so compelled to share it with the nation was surely born of one of the deepest emotions of all - a parent's love for their child. "This is personal," she said for all who would care to listen.
Ms McAleese's sense of Catholicism is in many ways unusual. Her religious beliefs were first forged as part of a tribal instinct, during her formative years in the nationalist enclave of Ardoyne in Belfast, with the hard days of the Northern Ireland troubles as backdrop.