Saturday 10 December 2016

Lise Hand: It was a magical day of planes, trains and polling booths

Whatever the outcome, Ireland shifted a little on its axis due to the positivity of Yes campaign

Published 23/05/2015 | 02:30

Rory O’Neill (Panti) casting his vote in Dublin city centre
Rory O’Neill (Panti) casting his vote in Dublin city centre
Renua leader Lucinda Creighton with her daughter Gwendoline (14 months) voting in Sandymount, Dublin
John Lyons TD with his mother Josie Lyons voting in Ballymun. Pic: Collins Photos.

Rory O'Neill hurried into his polling station on Marlborough Street in the heart of Dublin city centre, just a stone's throw from O'Connell Street. He had just returned from Norwich in England, via two trains, a flight from London Stansted and a lift into town.

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"The airport was crazy," he said. But then again Rory, aka Panti Bliss, would probably have swum home rather than miss out on voting in the marriage equality referendum.

For perhaps it could be argued that the debate on this issue began in earnest over a year ago, on February 1, 2014, when (as Panti) he stood on the stage of the Abbey Theatre and delivered an impassioned and eloquent speech on homophobia, bullying and inequality - the video of his oration won praise from the starry likes of Madonna and Stephen Fry and which attracted hundreds of thousands of hits on You Tube.

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