Thursday 8 December 2016

Sarah Carey: ‘It was a bruising campaign, let’s not make it a bruising victory’

Published 25/05/2015 | 14:17

People gather at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin Credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People gather at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin Credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

I was up to my eyes in Newstalk on Saturday morning, preparing for my turn to anchor referendum coverage, when I heard Senator David Norris chatting loudly as he waited to go on air.

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His voice took me back to Trinity College, 25 years ago, when I heard him make a most beautiful speech at the University Philosophical Society; a debating club of which I was a member.  His description of his love for his then partner Ezra moved me immensely. At the time, homosexuality was still illegal. Then, it really hit me. Norris was the first. I had to go over and shake his hand. “I didn’t think you’d live to see this day”, I offered. “Neither did I! I nearly died last year you know!” he exclaimed.

So I was particularly glad to hear him back on Newstalk this (Monday) morning with Pat Kenny; still gracious and full of good humour, defending the people of Roscommon-South Leitrim. The vote was slightly “no” in that constituency and the euphoria of Saturday had quickly turned to retribution on social media. Roscommon was coming off badly. Norris insisted that apart from the obvious demographics at play – it’s a constituency emptied of its youth by emigration – people were entitled to vote no and would have done so in good conscience. If there was any man in Ireland entitled to some bitter words, it was the Independent Senator, but he only had respect and a good joke about having to go to ghastly weddings. This is the role model. There’s no need to start hunting down the 37.5% of “no” voters.

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