Monday 16 January 2017

Silence of the lambs in Leinster House

Published 13/04/2015 | 02:30

Is it too early for champagne in the same-sex marriage vote?
Is it too early for champagne in the same-sex marriage vote?

The debate on the same-sex marriage referendum has seen vast swathes of the public telling pollsters that they favour a 'Yes' vote, while at the same time displaying an extraordinary reluctance to engage on the issue in any way. This, in turn, has allowed a small but vocal group to monopolise the campaign for a 'Yes' vote.

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The most extraordinary example of this was the Dáil debate on the bill to call the referendum itself. Incredibly, despite the enormous significance of the proposed referendum, just 28 of our 166 TDs spoke in the debate - including just nine of Fine Gael's 49 backbench TDs.

The vast majority of the largest party in the Dáil - and of the Dáil itself - maintained a stony silence as the bill was passed without a vote, let alone any kind of meaningful legislative scrutiny.

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