Wednesday 21 March 2018

Defeated No campaign graciously concede day in face of emphatic Yes

CELEBRATIONS: TD John Lyons, left, with Tanaiste Joan Burton and Kevin Humphreys at the count in the RDS in Dublin
CELEBRATIONS: TD John Lyons, left, with Tanaiste Joan Burton and Kevin Humphreys at the count in the RDS in Dublin

Daniel McConnell Group Political Correspondent

Leading figures of the No campaign graciously accepted defeat in the same-sex marriage referendum yesterday, hours before the official result was announced.

In a highly significant statement, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said the Catholic Church in Ireland needs a reality check.

Realising the vote was unlikely to go their way shortly after ballot boxes were opened, No leaders offered their congratulations to the Yes side.

They paid tribute to their supporters and said they were very proud of the campaign that they had run.

Iona Institute director and Irish Independent columnist David Quinn conceded defeat shortly after 10am yesterday morning on Twitter.

Mr Quinn congratulated the Yes campaign, saying they fought a very professional campaign.

The institute said it is "proud to have helped represent the many hundreds of thousands of Irish people who would otherwise have had no voice in this referendum because all of the political parties backed a Yes vote".

Mr Quinn said: "The fact that no political party supported them [the people who supported a No vote] must be a concern from a democratic point of view."

The Mothers and Fathers Matter Group congratulated the Yes side on their comprehensive victory.

"This is their day, and they should enjoy it. From our point of view, we have represented a proportion of the population greater than those who support any political party," the group said.

"One in three Irish people in this campaign was not represented by the political establishment, the media, or the institutions of State. We are proud to have fought on behalf of those voices when nobody else would," the statement said.

Independent Senator Ronan Mullen extended his best wishes to the Yes side.

He said: "Our country has divided two-to-one on the proposal to change the meaning of marriage in our society."

He added: "What we are not divided about is how we feel about gay people. Every human being has equal dignity and deserves equal respect. We are all committed to that."

"The No campaign was concerned about the profound effects of redefining marriage, and, in particular, about the consequences for some children who would be less likely to experience the love of a mother and father in their lives in the event of a Yes vote," he said."That concern was real and it remains justified."

Mr Mullen said now that marriage is to have a changed meaning in our society, we need to have a conversation about how a certain large minority is to be accommodated. That large minority is the group of people who believe in a different version of marriage to that which is now formally backed by the State.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath, one of a few Oireachtas members to call for a No vote, said that "the people have spoken".

He said: "We have to congratulate the Yes side on their victory and hopefully the promises that were made by the Government ministers will be kept now."

Mr McGrath said he never expected the No side to do better than it had.

"I never expected it to be much better, with the whole weight of the political establishment and public sector [in favour], Google, you name it, the Garda Representative Association.

"You couldn't fight that and move that mountain . . . I thought it might be even worse."

Sunday Independent

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