Saturday 23 November 2019

Tánaiste fears low turnout will hurt chance of a 'Yes'

Tánaiste Joan Burton
Tánaiste Joan Burton

Conor Kane

Tánaiste Joan Burton admitted she is "nervous" about the possibility of a low turnout in the marriage referendum affecting the chances of a 'Yes' vote.

While canvassing in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, Ms Burton said she had encountered an "astonishingly positive" response to the campaign for same-sex marriage but said turnout in referendums has been low in the past.

"I've been right around the country now . . . supporting 'Yes' to equality and supporting the Labour Party campaign and I get a sense of a huge amount of support for the principle of equality and for the idea that gay and lesbian people should have full equality in Ireland.

"What I'm a bit nervous about is . . . people mightn't actually commit to coming out to vote in a way that is essential to carry the referendum."

Turnout for referendums in Ireland is traditionally about one third lower than that for general elections, she said.

However, she added that it was "brilliant" that many people recently signed up to vote for the first time.

The Labour Party is now encouraging people on the Yes side to contact seven like-minded people in the seven remaining days of the campaign, "and make sure that they get out to vote".

"I'm particularly anxious to say to young people, no matter how much they're on social media campaigning in favour of the referendum, the really fashionable place to be, will be next Friday in a polling station, voting 'Yes' for equality."

Irish Independent

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