Monday 22 January 2018

Wexford says Yes to marriage equality

By Esther Hayden

It was evident from early on Saturday morning that Wexford and indeed Ireland had given same sex marriage a resounding Yes vote.

However the official result from Wexford wasn't announced until just after 4.05 p.m. on Saturday with the overall result not announced in Dublin Castle until around 7 p.m. While the celebrations in Dublin Castle were a joyous and loud affair, with thousands turning up to hear the result, the scene couldn't have been more different in Wexford where only a handful of people were present at the centre.

However, although muted, the excitement at the Yes result was evident and Cllr Malcolm Byrne, who campaigned for Yes Equality Wexford, said it was a 'phenomenal result'.

Read more here: Overwhelming yes vote shows a 'changing Ireland'

In total 64,450 people voted across Wexford in the marriage referendum with just 460 of those votes spoilt votes giving a valid poll of 63,990.

63.6 per cent of the people, 40,692 voted in favour of same sex marriage while 36.4 per cent, 23,298 voted against it.

Every single box across County Wexford delivered a yes majority with some boxes returning an overwhelming groundswell of support for the yes campaign.

Read more here: Wexford's poster girls

There was a rural urban divide with urban areas, in general, more in favour of same sex marriage. Gorey town boxes averaged over 73 per cent support for same sex marriage while the Gorey district itself was almost 2:1 in favour. One box in Gorey, Loreto School No. 4, was 79 per cent in favour of the change to the constitution.

In Enniscorthy town support for the yes campaign was 70 per cent while New Ross and Wexford town were at 66 per cent. With the exception of the Gorey district, the result in rural County Wexford was tighter with about 60 per cent in favour and 40 per cent opposing the change.

The two boxes with the lowest level of support, although still a majority 'yes' vote, were Adamstown and Gusserane which both had 52 per cent in favour of same sex marriage.

Read more here: Walsh 'disappointed' but not surprised by result

Cllr Byrne, chairman of Wexford County Council, said it was a 'very emotional day. 'One thing is very clear Irish society has changed. I've always believed that the people of County Wexford and Ireland as a whole are a generous, caring, compassionate and tolerant people and by the vote at the weekend they have shown this to be the case.

'I absolutely think that this is a hugely significant day for teenagers all over Wexford and ireland who may be gay or questioning their sexuality and feeling that they are a bit different but now they can know that even though they are different they are viewed as equals.

'It's a phenomenal message to send out', he said.

He paid tribute to everyone who went out to vote and those who had campaigned so diligently for a Yes vote in Wexford making special reference to Paddy Morris who managed the campaign. 'I'd also like to thank the many people who shared their own personal stories which often can be quite difficult to do but I think it helped people to come out and vote.

Cllr Byrne said that for those who voted against marriage equality for various reasons he understood that 'change can be difficult but hopefully in time they will come to realise how important this vote has been. I have no doubt that within a few years people will wonder what all the fuss was about.'

As a member of the LGBT community himself Cllr Byrne said it was a very significant day for him personally. 'It's hard when an issues impacts on you personally because you do invest yourself in it and also a lot of time and it's very much a case of talking about yourself but I always believed Irish people are fundamentally decent and caring. I am particularly glad that some of the strongest votes came from Gorey town.'

Cllr. Byrne said he believes that the future of Irish politics has changed.

'I think this will transform the whole political arena. A whole new generation of young people have become engaged in politics and if this continues it will radically alter how politics operates in Ireland. The level of enthusiasm and interest I saw during the campaign from people was amazing and I think it can make a huge difference.'

In the Presidential referendum 64,435 people cast their vote, 15 less than those who voted in the same sex marriage referendum. However a larger number of these votes were spoilt with 581 voted deemed spoilt leaving a valid poll of 63,854.

Of these 47,424 people (74.27 per cent) voted against lowering the age requirement for prospective presidential candidates from 35 to 21 with just 16,430 people (25.73 per cent) voting in favour of the change.

Wexford had a turnout of 57.8 per cent.

As with the marriage referendum the result of the presidential referendum was clear from early morning and although the votes were counted by around 6pm no official announcement could be made until the result of the marriage referendum was declared.

What the colours on the tally sheet mean.

Purple - Did not have valid poll in some boxes but had an average of 57.816% turnout, therefore estimated valid poll per box as 57.816% of number on register in each box

Green - Average Yes vote of 64 per cent so for the boxes with no tally Yes vote estimated at 64 per cent of the valid poll in the box

Orange - Average No vote of 36 per cent so for the boxes with no tally for No vote estimated at 36 per cent of the valid poll in the box

Wexford People

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