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Irish gay marriage referendum: Vote counting begins - Early tallies indicate strong 'Yes'

Published 23/05/2015

(left to right) Erin Reddy, Dee Campbell and Helen McCarthy at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
(left to right) Erin Reddy, Dee Campbell and Helen McCarthy at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
People gather at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
Drag queen and gay rights activist Rory O'Neill (centre), known by his stage name as Panti Bliss has his photo taken with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald (right) at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin, as votes continue to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
The sun shines as people gather at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
Erin Reddy (left) and Dee Campbell at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
A gay marriage supporter kisses her rosary beads at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin, as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
Bridget Hogg with a cardboard cutout of comedy creation Mrs Brown at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
Paul Bonass (left) and Luke Hoare Greene share a kiss at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Jaime Nanci (left) and Michael Barron who were married in Cape Town five years ago at the RDS in Dublin, re-act as early patterns suggest that the campaign to extend the right to marry to same-sex couples will succeed in the referendum on same-sex marriage. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Sean O Tarpaigh, a yes campaigner and Irish language teacher, at the same-sex marriage referendum count centre at Dublin Castle. Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Drag queen and gay rights activist Rory O'Neill, known by his stage name as Panti Bliss arrives at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin, as votes continue to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
Drag queen and gay rights activist Rory O'Neill, known by his stage name as Panti Bliss arrives at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin, as votes continue to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
Drag queen and gay rights activist Rory O'Neill, known by his stage name as Panti Bliss kisses Senator David Norris (left) as Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams looks on at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin, as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2015. Ireland is set to enshrine the right to gay marriage in a historic world first. Key campaign groups fighting the rights reform conceded defeat, with results from around the country indicating a two to one majority of voters backing the constitutional change Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Drag queen and gay rights activist Rory O'Neill (centre), known by his stage name as Panti Bliss with with Senator David Norris (left) and Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin, as votes continue to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2015. Ireland is set to enshrine the right to gay marriage in a historic world first. Key campaign groups fighting the rights reform conceded defeat, with results from around the country indicating a two to one majority of voters backing the constitutional change. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Drag queen and gay rights activist Rory O'Neill, known by his stage name as Panti Bliss arrives at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin, as votes continue to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2015. Ireland is set to enshrine the right to gay marriage in a historic world first. Key campaign groups fighting the rights reform conceded defeat, with results from around the country indicating a two to one majority of voters backing the constitutional change. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People gather at the Central Count Centre in Dublin Castle, Dublin as votes are continued to be counted in the referendum on same-sex marriage.
Seven month old Belle Duffy, held by her mother Deirdre Duffy as counting of votes continues in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age at the RDS in Dublin. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
YES voter Deirdre Duffy and her seventh month old daughter Belle, with YES campaigners (from left) Kristina Vaughan, Mark Dempsey, and Ger O'Keeffe as counting of votes continues in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age at the RDS in Dublin. Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Senator David Norris is welcomed by Andrew Hyland of YES Equality (left) as he arrives at the RDS as counting of votes in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age gets under way at the RDS in Dublin this morning. Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Ballot boxes are emptied as counting of votes in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age is under way at the RDS in Dublin this morning. Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Official tally Rhonda Donaghy and James McGrath wait for counting of votes in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age to get under way at the RDS in Dublin this morning. Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Sorcha Nic Mhathuna waits for counting of votes in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age to get under way at the RDS in Dublin this morning. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Official tally Rhonda Donaghy waits for counting of votes in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age to get under way at the RDS in Dublin this morning. Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Ballot boxes are unlocked as counting of votes in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age to get under way at the RDS in Dublin this morning Saturday May 23, 2015Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Counting of votes in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age gets under way at the RDS in Dublin this morning. Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Official tally Rhonda Donaghy and James McGrath wait for counting of votes in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age to get under way at the RDS in Dublin this morning. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2015. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Senator David Norris arrives at the RDS as counting of votes in the referendums on same-sex marriage and presidential-age get under way at the RDS in Dublin this morning. Picture date: Saturday May 23, 2015 Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Newly married couple Anne Fox (nee Cole) and Vincent Fox kiss to celebrate their wedding and also show their support for the Yes campaign in favour of same-sex marriage before casting their votes at a polling station on May 22, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Newly married couple Anne Fox (nee Cole) and Vincent Fox celebrate their wedding day by showing their support for the Yes campaign in favour of same-sex marriage as they cast their votes at a polling station on May 22, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Carmelite sisters leave a polling station in Malahide, County Dublin, Ireland, Friday, May 22, 2015.
A gay couple pose holding hands as they walk out of a polling station after voting in Drogheda, north Dublin on May 22, 2015. Ireland took to the polls today to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation. AFP PHOTO / Paul FaithPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Civil partners of four years Paul Higgins (left) and Richard Lucey, who have been in a relationship together for 19 years, prepare to cast their votes at their polling station in Cabra, Dublin for the referendum on gay marriage.
A homeless person lays beneath a billboard poster promoting the Yes campaign in favour of same-sex marriage on May 22, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
A man walks past billboard posters promoting the Yes campaign in favour of same-sex marriage on May 22, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
A man walks past a mural promoting the Yes campaign in favour of same-sex marriage on May 22, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Pedestrians walk past a mural in favour of same-sex marriages in Dublin.
Members of the Yes Equality campaign gather in the center of Dublin, Ireland. People from across the Republic of Ireland will vote in a referendum on the legalization of gay marriage, a vote that pits the power of the Catholic Church against the secular-minded Irish government of Enda Kenny.
16/5/2015.Marriage Equality Referendum. With just six days to go for the voting on the Marriage Equality Referendum on Friday 22 of May, the debate about margins continues with the Yes Vote appearing to be way out in front, particularly in the large cities, but with a fear that in the countryside there may be a large silent No Vote lingering in the long grass. Photo shows people passing a large Yes poster in Dublin City Centre.Photo Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland
USI (Union of Students in Ireland) launches 'VoterMotor' a campaign to get the student vote out for the Marriage Equality Referendum.
Sister Loreto Ryan of the Sisters of Charity casts her vote at a polling station in Drumcondra, north Dublin on May 22, 2015. Ireland took to the polls today to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation.
Sister Loreto Ryan of the Sisters of Charity leaves after voting at a polling station in Drumcondra, north Dublin on May 22, 2015. Ireland took to the polls today to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation.
Tanaiste Joan Burton arrives to cast her vote at St Joseph's National School in Cabra, Dublin for the referendum on gay marriage.
Tanaiste Joan Burton arrives to cast her vote at St Joseph's National School in Cabra, Dublin for the referendum on gay marriage.
Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald casts her vote at St Joseph's National School in Cabra, Dublin for the referendum on gay marriage.
Posters in favour of same-sex marriage sit in the window of a clothing shop in Dublin on May 21, 2015.
A mural in favour of same-sex marriage is pictured on a wall in Dublin on May 21, 2015.
Pedestrians walk past anti same-sex marriage posters in Dublin on May 21, 2015. Ireland goes to the polls tomorrow to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Pedestrians walk past a mural in favour of same-sex marriages in Dublin.
A Mural in favour of same-sex marriages in Dublin on May 21, 2015. Ireland goes to the polls tomorrow to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal, in a referendum that has exposed sharp divisions between communities in this traditionally Catholic nation.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny arrives to meet with members of the Yes Equality campaign during a photo call in Dublin, Ireland. The Irish Prime Minister is appealing to Ireland's voters to support the legalization of gay marriage in a referendum that pits the power of the Catholic Church against his government.
Declan Waters, owner of the Holy Love Information Centre, adjust his Irish flag as it flys above anti same-sex "Vote No" posters in Knock, west Ireland. In the village of Knock in the west of Ireland, support for a "No" vote in the May 22 same-sex marriage referendum is strong, as it is in many rural areas where the Catholic Church still holds sway.
A woman walks past anti same-sex "Vote No" posters in Knock, west Ireland. In the village of Knock in the west of Ireland, support for a "No" vote in the May 22 same-sex marriage referendum is strong, as it is in many rural areas where the Catholic Church still holds sway.
Comedian Oliver Callan takes part in A Noble Call for Marriage Equality, an arts event in support of a Yes vote in Ireland's Gay marriage referendum, at the Abbey Theater in Dublin.

The same-sex marriage referendum will be comfortably passed, based on early tallies from across the country.

Counting is underway in the landmark referendum on whether to introduce gay marriage in Ireland.

The margin of victory is tipped to be heading towards a 2:1 majority.

The Republic of Ireland appears set to become the first country to introduce same-sex marriage by a popular vote, especially now since the ‘no’ campaign appears to have conceded.

David Quinn, of the Iona Institute and ‘No’ campaign tweeted a concession and congratulations to the ‘Yes’ campaign amid widespread reports of a landslide.

In a statement the Iona institute said: “We would like to congratulate the Yes side on winning such a handsome victory in the marriage referendum.

“They fought a very professional campaign that in truth began long before the official campaign started.

“For our part, The Iona Institute 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.

“The Iona Institute would like to thank the thousands of volunteers up and down the country who worked day and night to try and secure a No vote.”

David Quinn said: “Going forward, we will continue to affirm the importance of the biological ties and of motherhood and fatherhood. We hope the Government will address the concerns voters on the No side have about the implications for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.”

The high turnout favoured Yes campaigners as the efforts to get the vote out worked effectively, particularly among young voters.

Few, if any locations, are showing a No vote winning the referendum.

Even in traditionally conservative rural area, the vote is coming in at 50:50.

Dublin will be strongly Yes, right across the city and county.

But this trend is being matched in locations across the country.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said it was a good day for equality and a good day for Ireland.

He said: "It appears to be an overwhelming 'Yes' vote across the State. This is a very good day for equality and a very good day for Ireland.

"Irish people have demonstrated that we are a decent, tolerant and compassionate people.

"I want to commend all those who took part in the campaign over recent weeks and all those who voted, especially those who voted 'Yes'.

"I want to congratulate the Sinn Féin members across the State who worked hard for a 'Yes' vote and to thank the Sinn Féin 'Yes' Campaign Director, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD.

"During the campaign we heard a lot of talk from all political parties about the need for equality. We now need to see that sentiment extended to the social and economic sphere.

"Sinn Féin will continue to demand that all Government policies and budgets are equality proofed. This is essential if we are to construct a truly equal society.

“The marriage equality rights that will now be enjoyed by citizens in the south must be available to all in the north. Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for equal rights for all.

"Another very notable aspect of the campaign was the huge desire among our diaspora for the right to vote. It underlines the case that our emigrants should no longer be denied a voice in our democracy."

The very early tallies in Mayo, Wexford, Wicklow, Roscommon and Clare all signal a Yes vote.

The barometer constituency of Tipperary North is showing a 60:40 split.

A Fine Gael strategist said he expects the result to be up to 2:1 Yes vote.

"It'll be about 65-66pc carried across the board," the strategist said.

Labour Party junior minister Kevin Humphreys, who has a reputation for calling vote results early, says the vote will be Yes.

His estimates from his own constituency of Dublin South-East show some boxes coming across with results of anything up to 80pc Yes.

Although the areas concerned would be strongly liberal, the pattern indicates a strong Yes elsewhere.

"The trend is so big here, it has to be matched to a degree across the country," he said.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin also said he believes it will be a strong Yes vote.

Mr Martin said he had never seen so many young people voting before.

The party leader also defended Fianna Fail's record in campaigning for a Yes vote.

Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness said he was voting No, while other TDs and Senators refused to say what way they were doing.

Mr Martin said a lot of his party did "put their shoulder to the wheels".

"It is not about parliamentary parties. That's the clear message from this campaign," he said.

"This is very much above and beyond and transcends party politics," he added.

Source Irish Independent additional reporting Independent

Further reading:

Irish gay marriage referendum: Pressure to build on Northern Ireland's politicians to allow vote on gay marriage  

#HomeToVote: Irish abroad travel home from around the world to vote in gay marriage referendum

Irish gay marriage referendum: TDs met by wave of undecided voters

Irish gay marriage referendum: 'Gay cake row has given No campaign a massive boost'

Irish gay marriage referendum: Voters complain about Bibles in polling stations

Irish Independent

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