#Seanad16 – Agricultural Panel

Rose Conway-Walsh - Elected Count 1, Sinn Fein
Rose Conway-Walsh – Elected Count 1, Sinn Fein

Candidates: 23
Seats: 11
Total Valid Poll: 1,124,000
Quota: 93,667
At least 4 Candidates to be elected from each sub-panel
Elected Candidates: 8
Remaining Candidates: 5
Status: Complete
State of Parties: FF 3, FG 3, SF 2, Ind 1, Lab 1, GP 1

Sinn Fein’s Rose Conway Walsh has topped the poll with 98 votes and is elected on the first Count of the

Trevor O'Clochartaigh - Elected Count 2, Sinn Fein
Trevor O’Clochartaigh – Elected Count 2, Sinn Fein

Agricultural Panel. Her running mate Trevor Ó Clochartaigh was elected on the 2nd count on the transfers from Conway-Walsh.

The surprise is Independent Candidate Victor Boyhan, a councillor from Dún Laoghaire who finished second just short of quota with 93 votes. Victor was elected on the 13th Count on transfers for Jennifer

Denis O'Donovan - Elected Count 9, Fianna Fail
Denis O’Donovan – Elected Count 9, Fianna Fail


For Fianna Fail Dennis O’Donovan was their highest vote getter with 89 votes, and was elected on the 9th Count. Brian Ó Domhnaill takes the 2nd Fianna Fail seat on 17th count after the elimination of running mate Paschal Mooney. The 18th count saw Pul Daly elected on the surplus from Brian O’Domhnail. Only one candidate remains for Fianna Fail and the is Michael Smith, is well off the pace and will be eliminated after FG’s Colm Markey.

Victor Boyhan - Elected Count 13, Independent
Victor Boyhan – Elected Count 13, Independent

Fine Gael’s Paddy Burke got 74 votes on the first count and there will be a scrabble to see who joins him. Burke was elected on Count 14. On Count 20 Burke was joined by Maria Byrne and Tim Lombard who were both elected after the elimination of Colm Markey.

following the transfer of Boyhan’s surplus. Labour’s Denis Landy is fighting to be elected as he battles to pick up transfers as he got 72 votes on the first count. Landy reached quota and was elected on Count 20.

The Green’s Grace O’Sullivan picked up 48 votes, and with the elimination

Paddy Burke - Elected Count 14, Fine Gael
Paddy Burke – Elected Count 14, Fine Gael

of SocDem’s Jennifer Whitmore, Grace is the last remaining candidate on the inside panel, she will be elected, as 4 candidates must be from the inside panel.


  • Conway-Walsh, Rose (Count 1) SF
  • Ó Clochartaigh, Trevor (Count 2) SF
  • O’Donovan, Denis (Count 9) FF
  • Boyhan, Vincent (Count 13) Ind
  • Burke, Paddy (Count 14) FG
  • O’Domhnail, Brian (Count 17) FF
  • Daly, Paul (Count 18) FF
  • Byrne, Maria (Count 20) FG

    Brian O'Domhnaill - Elected Count 17, Fianna Fail
    Brian O’Domhnaill – Elected Count 17, Fianna Fail
  • Lombard, Time (Count 20) FG
  • Landy, Denis (Count 20) Lab
  • O’Sullivan, Grace (Elected without reaching quota) Green Party


  • Hayes, Pat (Count 3) FF
  • Commiskey, Michael (Count 4) FG
  • Lawlor, Anthony (Count 5) FG
  • Sheehan, John (Count 6) FG
  • O’Reilly, Shane P. (Count 7) FF
  • Gerety-Quinn, Connie (Count 8) FF
  • O’Flynn, Frank (Count 10) FF
  • Coonan, Noel (Count 11) FG

    Paul Daly - Elected Count 18, Fianna Fail
    Paul Daly – Elected Count 18, Fianna Fail
  • Whitmore, Jennifer (Count 12) SocDem
  • O’Neill, Pat (Count 15) FG
  • Mooney, Paschal (Count 16) FF
  • Markey, Colm (Count 18) FG

Check out Adrian Kavanagh’s Blog for

some perspectives and see SeanadCount.ie for the results as they come in.

Maria Byrne - Elected Count 20, Fine Gael
Maria Byrne – Elected Count 20, Fine Gael

Follow @oireachtasnews for updates on the vocational panels.

Current Seanad Standings

  • FF: 5
  • FG: 5
  • SF: 3
  • Ind: 1
  • Lab 1
  • GP 1

Results of Cultural and Educational Panel

Tim Lombard - Elected Count 20, Fine Gael
Tim Lombard – Elected Count 20, Fine Gael
Denis Landy - Elected Count 20, Labour
Denis Landy – Elected Count 20, Labour
Grace O'Sullivan - Elected without reaching quota, Green Party
Grace O’Sullivan – Elected without reaching quota, Green Party

#Seanad16 – Cultural and Educational Panel

Fintan Warfield - Elected Count 1, Sinn Fein
Fintan Warfield – Elected Count 1, Sinn Fein

Candidates: 24
Seats: 5
Total Valid Poll: 1123000
Quota: 187,167
At least 2 Candidates to be elected from each sub-panel
Elected Candidates: 5
Status: Complete
Parties: FF 2, FG 2, SF 1


The first candidate elected to Seanad Eireann was Sinn Fein’s Fintan Warfield topped the poll with 200,000 vote on the Cultural and

Keith Swanick, Elected Count 18, FF
Keith Swanick – Elected Count 19, Fianna Fail

Educational Panel. This bodes well for the Sinn Fein Candidates on the other panels as their vote management looks very well handled.

Fianna Fail’s Keith Swanick took the 2nd seat on this panel on Count 18. Lorraine Clifford-Lee finished 5th and was electing with reaching the Quota. She finished 4,000 voteas ahead of Independent Joe Conway.

On Count 21 following the elimination of Senator Jim D’Arcy. Former Fine Gael TD Kieren O’Donnell

Kieran O'Donnell - Elected Count 21 -  Fine Gael
Kieran O’Donnell – Elected Count 21 – Fine Gael

was elected when he reached the Quota. Gabrielle McFadden was also elected with reaching quota on this count. She finished ahead of Clifford taking the 4th seat.

Thats the first panel down. Only four more to go. Next Panel is the Agricultural Panel, which starts tomorrow


  • Warfield, Fintan (Count 1) SF
  • Swanick, Keith (Count 19) FF
  • O’Donnell, Kieran (Count 21) FG
  • Gabrielle McFadden - Elected without reach quota, Fine Gael
    Gabrielle McFadden – Elected without reach quota, Fine Gael

    McFadden, Gabrielle (without reaching quota) FG

  • Clifford-Lee, Lorraine, (without reaching quota) FF


  • O’Connor, Claire (2nd Count) FF
  • O Laoi, Seosamh (3rd Count) FG
  • Carey, Declan (4th Count) IND
  • Crowley, Liam (5th Count) FF
  • MacBride, Seán (6th Count) FF
  • O’Higgins, Adrian (7th Count) FF
  • Burke, Deirdre (8th Count) IND
  • Lorrain Clifford Lee - Elected without reaching quota, Fianna Fail
    Lorrain Clifford Lee – Elected without reaching quota, Fianna Fail

    Ó Ceallaigh, Seosamh (9th Count) IND

  • Collins, Michael (10th Count) FF
  • Howard, Mary (11th Count) FG
  • Brabazon, Tom (12th Count) FF
  • Finucane, Jim (13th Count) FG
  • Cuffe, Jennifer (14th Count) FF
  • Connolly, John (15th Count) FF
  • Dermody, Anne Marie (16th Count) FG
  • Walsh, Seamus (17th Count) FF
  • Byrne, Malcome (18th Count) FF
  • D’Arcy, Jim (20th Count) FG
  • Conway, Joe (not elected) Ind

For details on vote share and other details see Adrian Kavanagh’s blog, for the election results see SeanadCount.ie

Seanad Eireann Election 2016 Count Underway – #Seanad16

seanadlogoThe count for the Elections to Seanad Eireann through the vocational panels is under way. 43 of the 60 Senators will be elected on these panels, with 6 elected by the University Panels and 11 appointed by An Toaiseach.

This year there is a dedicated website for the counts, SeanadCount.ie so there won’t be frantic downloading of excel files as there was in 2011.

The count has begun on the Cultural and Education Panel which has five seats. 24 candidates are battling it out for these seats. The first count results are due around 2pm today.

The rest of the panels will be counted in the following order:

  • Cultural and Educational Panel
  • Agricultural Panel
  • Labour Panel
  • Industrial and Commercial Panel
  • Administrative Panel

The University Panels will begin their counts tomorrow Tuesday at 11am to fill the 3 seats on the National University of Ireland Panel and the 3 seats on the Trinity College Panel.

I will attempt to keep you all updated on the results as they come in.


Diary of a Canvasser – Entry 1 #MarRef

2015-03-21 12.10.26So the Marriage Equality Referendum is starting to get going campaign wise. While we are 62 days out from the referendum on May 22nd, some campaigns have started.

YesEquality Cork is one of the groups that have started, with canvassing beginning on St Patricks Day before the Parade  and evening canvasses also.

Today was my first proper canvass with YesEquality Cork (as I had to go to work on St Patricks Day). We were joined by the INTO LGBT Group and Teachers for Marriage Equality as we set up shop on Paul St.

2015-03-21 12.11.55

As the sun was shining everyone was in a good mood. We had a great crew of canvassers. We met a varied group of people and the majority were quite positive towards us.  But with 62 days to we cannot be presumptive in any way, shape or form.

One lady stood out to me today. She was 86 and made a bee-line for me. I must admit I was expecting an ear bashing. Instead it turns out she was Women’s rights campaigner for all her life. She strongly believed in Equality and as a person on the ‘Left’ she would definitely be voting Yes on May 22nd! Not just for herself and her generation, but also her 23 year old grandson who is Gay! Now that is words a canvasser loves to hear!

canvass equality
Author with 86 year old equality campaigner, photo courtesy of Ken Curtin.


For many young people we canvassed it was an open and shut case, they were voting yes, no question about it. Same with two ladies who worked in a cafe who called me over to say they were having a rant and “people should be allowed do want they want”. They were delighted to see us out campaigning for it.

We did of course come across a few No voters, who it must be said, were very respectful, apart from one Lady who decided to shout “No, you should be ashamed of yourselves”. But I was pleasantly surprised we didn’t hear a lot of that!

There is a still a long way to go to ensure that this referendum passes on May 22nd, but today for me was a great start!

If you want to get involved with the campaign, join your local YesEquality Group, and if there isnt one locally why not get a group together and set one up! Its by working together we will ensure Equality for all couples in Ireland!

For those of you unsure what the #MarRef in the title is about, it is shorthand being used on Twitter.

Water – The straw that broke the camels back?

One of the major comments about the Irish people during the recent financial crisis and recession, was that there was no vocal, angry oppoistion on the street. This was a major factor in much instability faced by other countries faced with tough decisions because of the financial crash.

But why in Ireland, just as the recovery is starting to gain momentum, are now the Irish people protesting on the street?

Major protests are planned for today around the country against the implementation of water charges. The past number of weeks have been dominated by stories about Irish Water, its excesses, its board, the protests at installations and of course bonuses.

It is harder and harder for anyone to defend the mishandling of Irish Water, whether as a Government party supported or you see the need behind the introduction of water charges.

Irish people over the last number of years have made monumental sacrifices. Some have lost jobs, others seen the young people in their family leave for a better life elsewhere, while others have taken jobs they never thought they would do. We have seen higher taxes with USC, property charges and a range of other measures to shore up the Public Finances.

Water seems to be different. Why does a water utility need our PPS number? Why do we need to pay for our meter to be read if we are moving out? Why will callouts cost so much? Why will staff be paid bonuses when there is no benchmark for improvements?

There is a range of questions there that have no satisfactory answers. That has led to some misinformation, confusion and anger among ordinary Irish people, which I have not seen in my lifetime.

This is a wake up call for the Government and Irish Water. When dealing with the public you need to be open and honest. Only ask for the information you really need.

While I will not be protesting this weekend, I have some sympathy with those who do and believe the Government need to take a look again at Irish Water.

Otherwise this Government will face one of the biggest actions of Civil Disobedience this country has ever seen.

Cork City Council – The Candidates

Its 12 days to polling for the Local and European Elections on May 23rd.2014-04-24 20.41.34

Following the elections in 2009 Fine Gael became the largest party on the Council with 8 seats. They were followed by Labour on 7 and Fianna Fail on 6. Sinn Fein had 4 seats with the Socialist Party and the Workers Party having one each. 4 Independent councillors were elected.

Since that election there has been some changes. Fine Gael now have 9 seats has Joe’O’Callaghan was co-opted to Dave McCathy’s (Ind) seat in Cork North West following his death in April 2011. Chris O’Leary who was elected as an independent in the Cork South East Ward has since joined Sinn Fein bringing them to 5 seats. This has left only two independents on the Council, Mick Finn in Cork South Central and Kieran McCarthy in Cork South East.

Three councillors are retiring this year Jim Corr a Fine Gael Councillor in Cork South East, Brian Birmingham a Fine Gael Councillor in Cork South West and Michael Ahern a Labour Councillor also in Cork South West. All three have had long service on the council.

A total of 65 candidates are running for the 31 seats on Cork City Council. Fine Gael are running 14 candidates across the 6 city wards while Fianna Fail are running 11 candidates. Sinn Fein are running 7 candidates to Labour ‘s 6. The Green party have 3 candidates, Anti Austerity Alliance also have 3. The Workers Party have two candidates while the Communist Party is running only one Candidates. By far the largest number of candidates are Non-Party candidates who number 15 candidates across the city.

Below is a list of all candidates seeking election to Cork City Council in 2014.

* denotes sitting councillor

Cork North Central Ward (5 seats)

  • Mick Barry*, Anti Austerity Alliance
  • Catherine Clancy*, Labour
  • Billy Corcoran, Non-Party
  • Thomas Gould*, Sinn Fein
  • Patricia Gosh*, Fine Gael
  • Donnacha Loftus, Fine Gael
  • Lil O’Donnell, Anti Austerity Alliance
  • Kenneth O’Flynn, Fianna Fail
  • Dr John Sheehan, Fianna Fail

Cork North East Ward (4 seats)

  • Tim Brosnan*, Fianna Fail
  • Sue-Ellen Carroll, Fine Gael
  • Stephen Cunningham, Sinn Fein
  • Joe Kavanagh*, Fine Gael
  • John Kelleher*, Labour
  • Philip A McCarthy, Non-Party
  • Oliver Moran, Green Party
  • Michael O’Donnell, Communist Party of Ireland
  • Ted Tynan*, Workers Party

Cork North West Ward (4 seats)

  • Lyndsey Clarke, Fine Gael
  • Kenneth Collins, Sinn Fein
  • James Coughlan, Workers Party
  • Tony Fitzgerald*, Fianna Fail
  • Evan Murphy, Non-Party
  • John Murphy, Non-Party
  • Mick Nugent*, Sinn Fein
  • Joe O’Callaghan*, Fine Gael
  • Michael O’Connell*, Labour
  • Barry O’Donovan, Non-Party
  • Pat O’Shea, Non-Party
  • Marian O’Sullivan, Anti Austerity Alliance
  • Maurice Sheehan, Non-Party

Cork South Central Ward (5 seats)

  • Paudie Dineen, Non-Party
  • Mick Finn*, Non-Party
  • Ella Goddin, Non-Party
  • Brian Houlihan, Non-Party
  • Fiona Kerins*, Sinn Fein
  • Lorraine Kingston*, Labour
  • Billy MacGill, Fine Gael
  • Sean Martin*, Fianna Fail
  • Tom McIntyre, Non-Party
  • Tom O’Driscoll, Fianna Fail
  • Emmet O’Halloran*, Fine Gael
  • Johnny O’Mahony, Green Party

Cork South East Ward (7 seats)

  • Dan Boyle, Green Party
  • Des Cahill*, Fine Gael
  • Derek Cregan, Fine Gael
  • Kate Martin, Fianna Fail
  • Kieran McCathy*, Non-Party
  • Laura McGonigle*, Fine Gael
  • Diarmuid Ó’Cadhla, Non-Party
  • Denis O’Fynn*, Labour
  • Nicholas O’Keeffe, Fianna Fail
  • Chris O’Leary*, Sinn Fein
  • Shane O’Shea, Sinn Fein
  • Terry Shannon*, Fianna Fail

Cork South West Ward (6 seats)

  • John Buttimer*, Fine Gael
  • Henry Cremin*, Sinn Fein
  • Fergal Dennehy, Fianna Fail
  • Ger Gibbons*, Labour
  • P.J. Hourican, Fine Gael
  • Barry Keane, Fine Gael
  • Thomas Kiely, Non-Party
  • Thomas Moloney, Non-Party
  • Mick Murphy, Green Party
  • Mary Shields*, Fianna Fail



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Seanad “No” Campaign to launch tomorrow

English: This is a photograph of the Seanad ch...
English: This is a photograph of the Seanad chamber, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin Ireland. The Seanad is the upper house of the Irish parliament(Oireachtas). It is the chamber and seat of the Irish Government senators (Seanadóirí). The photograph was taken on 28th of June, 2008 at the inaugural opening of the Houses of the Oireachtas for a 'family fun day'. This we were told (by the guides) was the first time that photography was permitted inside the houses of the Oireachtas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomorrow morning in Dublin “Democracy Matters” will launch in Dublin. The campaign will be calling for the Seanad, instead of being abolished as suggested by the Government, that it be “radically” reformed based on the bill published recently by Senator’s Katherine Zappone and Feargal Quinn. The bill can be viewed here.

As well as the two senators, the others involved are former Senator Joe ‘Toole, former Attorney General and Minister for Justice Michael McDowell and journalist Noel Whelan.

The campaign is launching well before any date has been set for a referendum on abolishing the Seanad, but it is expected to take place in the Autumn of this year.

Already the opinion pieces have started. On Thursday Fine Gael Dublin Central TD and former Senator Paschal Donohue wrote a piece in the Irish Times entitled “Only political insiders would mourn the passing of the Seanad“. His piece contained the usual reasons for abolishing, lack of reform, lack of powers, lack of legitimacy and of course the cost as well as comparing it to other parliaments.

While those who want Seanad Eireann abolished always give out that it hasnt been reformed, they seem to be throwing the baby out with bath water as they seem to have given up on any chance of reform by abolishing it.

With proposals for Dáil Reform from Eoghan Murphy TD being discussed, should we really embark on the biggest change of Bunreacht na hEireann? Many already complain of the power of the whips and the government controlling the agenda of the Dáil, and the Seanad is the one place where they do not have that power, is it wise to get rid of that place? I have yet to be convinced.

I shall be attending the launch of Democracy Matters tomorrow so do watch my Twitter feed for details coming from that.

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How do we get Same Sex Marriage? Step 1: Register to Vote

Voter Registration 6/14/08 #2
Voter Registration 6/14/08 #2 (Photo credit: John of Lebanon)

I posted on Sunday after the Constitutional Convention that it will be more than likely Autumn 2014 before we see any referendum vote on Same Sex Marriage. There will be many steps on the road to winning this referendum, but we have start at the basics. And now is the perfect time to start!

Register to Vote!

From my experience, young people and members of the LGBT people are not that great at registering to vote and actually voting. But this will be the first key step in ensuring that we can win a referendum on same sex marriage.

While there will be a vote on lowering the voting age to 16 before this referendum, depending on the Governments response to the Convention report on lowering the voting age, it is still hugely important that people are on the Register of Electors

The Register of Electors is done up once a year and while you can always register for the Supplementary Register before the referendum this can be quite rushed as you must have the forms filled in two weeks before the referendum date.

You can register to vote using this form.

Your Registered? Good, but are your details correct?

This can be a big thing. While we always remember to tell friends and the various companies we deal with any changes to our address, how many of us remember to move our vote?

This is a major inconvenience when you go to try to vote! Make sure your details are correct on CheckTheRegister.ie and if they are not, or you plan on moving, use this form to update your details

Now Vote!

Ok so you have done all that! Excellent! Now get used to voting. Make sure you cast your vote at every election and referendum and get used to the idea of visiting the polling station so you know how it all works and of course how long it takes so you can factor it in on the day of the vote!

Also remember that by voting for people who support Same Sex Marriage in the Local and European Elections will also help push it along! It is a good bit away but no harm in starting now!

But Who Can Vote?

When it comes to referendums and Presidential elections in Ireland, only Irish Citizens can vote.

British Citizens may vote and Dáil, Local and European Elections.

European Union Citizens may vote at Local and European Elections.

Non-EU Citizens can only vote in Local Elections.

I’m sure many college based LGBT Groups will be running Register to Vote Campaigns when the Colleges go back this Autumn, but it is just as important for non-college based groups whether they be youth groups, sports groups or dining groups that they urge their members to register to vote and vote!

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The Convention on the Constitution and Same-Sex Marriage – This is Only The Beginning

Same Sex Marriage
Same Sex Marriage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s vote at the Convention on the Constitution was an amazing step on the road to Same Sex Marriage in Ireland. The overwhelming support from the convention to changing the Constitution is certainly something to bolster those campaigning for Same Sex Marriage. A huge well done to GLEN, MarriagEquality and the ICCL on their presentations and everyone that took part in the panel discussions in favour of Same Sex Marriage.

The details of the vote and results are as follows:

The Convention decided to recommend that the Constitution be changed to allow for civil marriage for same-sex couples by:

  • Yes – 79%
  • No – 19%
  • No opinion – 1%

The members of the Convention were also asked what form the amendment should take. Delegates were given the option of voting that the amendment be:

  • permissive (‘the State may enact laws providing for same-sex marriage’);
  • directive (‘the State shall enact laws providing for same-sex marriage’);

On this matter the Convention decided:

  • Permissive – 17%
  • Directive – 78%
  • No opinion – 1%

A final question asked delegates if they agreed, disagreed or had no opinion that ‘having regard to the changed arrangements in relation to marriage, the State shall enact laws incorporating changed arrangements in regard to the parentage, guardianship and the upbringing of children’.On this question the Convention decided:

  • Yes – 81%
  • No – 12%
  • No opinion – 2%

Full press release on vote result (PDF)

While many of us are certainly delighted with today’s result it really is only the beginning of the process towards a Referendum on Same Sex Marriage in Ireland. The Convention will send a report to the Houses of the Oireachtas. That will take about two months going by the first report issued by the Convention on lowering the voting age and the presidential term.

The Oireachtas then has 4 months to respond as set out by the Terms of Reference

“the Government will provide in the Oireachtas a response to each recommendation of the Convention within four months and, if accepting the recommendation, will indicate the timeframe it envisages for the holding of any related referendum”

So that means we will find out in about 6 months when the referendum will be held. We then have to allow for the Local and European Elections in May 2014, meaning that unless the referendum is held at the same time (could be an idea to raise turnout) it probably will be held in the Autumn of 2014. This could be a very long campaign, just like the Scottish Referendum Campaign!!

This of course raises many issues. How will TV and Radio cover it?

During the week Una Mullally raise some very valid points on this.

The main problem with how the Irish media frames the debate is around a skewed view of what ‘balance’ is. ‘Middle Ireland’, the ‘silent majority’, the ‘mainstream’, gay people are told, are not ready for something so drastic as equality. I don’t know about you, but I never actually hear that middle ground. What I hear again and again is yet another articulate gay person trying to hold their temper while they are subjected to ignorant and juvenile arguments. And I hear an opposing view, generally one from the far out end of Catholicism, blustering about children’s rights (which Civil Partnership denies, thank you very much), and trying desperately to fight against equality with arguments based on their own personal belief systems or grievances. I don’t hear middle Ireland. I don’t hear a middle ground. I don’t hear the mainstream. I don’t hear the 71% of Irish people who believe the Irish government should amend the law to provide civil marriages for same-sex couples, or the 75% who said they would vote yes in a referendum to extend civil marriage to same-sex couples, or the 72% who believe that denying civil marriage to same-sex couples is a form of discrimination*. I don’t hear the voices of teenagers and grannies who think “I don’t mind, actually.” All I hear is hate.

Constructing polarised conversations for the sake of ‘good radio’, ‘watchable TV’, ‘lively debate’, or an urge to get a radio programme or TV show’s hashtag trending doesn’t serve anyone because no real information emerges. All you come away with is conflict and division. Facts and reason are drowned out by emotional arguments and inaccuracies. It’s pointless. And while listening to Pat Kenny’s radio programme yesterday morning where the editor of GCN, Brian Finnegan, was met with bizarre anti-equality arguments from Gerry Fahey, a sickening feeling resurfaced. Because there is something more insidiously harmful going on. Broadcasters will cite ‘balance’ as a defense for allowing these views to be broadcast. But I’m sorry, there is nothing balanced about someone going on air and voicing opinions that are hateful and discriminatory. The pro-marriage equality side doesn’t do that, yet the anti side seems to have a free pass to bang on about whatever paper thin argument, conspiracy theory, or downright homophobic view they want. I am OVER it.

Gay-bashing, gay marriage, and how the media needs to get a grip – Irish Times do read the full article as it does highlight what will be a major issue during the campaign, which I’m sure will remind some people of the referendums on Abortion and Divorce in Ireland.

With polling showing that 72% of people are in favour of allowing Same Sex Marriage in Ireland any major campaign on this must take heed of what happened in the Children’s Rights Referendum last year. Polling there also showed that over 70% were in favour of that, but in the end it passed with a 58% yes vote on a 33% turnout, which is much lower then how the polling predicted it with go.

Any campaign will not only have to win the argument (which today shows it certainly can), but will have to make sure that it can get the vote out and of course make sure that young people (and members of the LGBT community), who are the largest group that back this change, are registered to vote!

That will be the biggest challenge.

It can be done.

It will be done!

This is only the beginning,

but it will happen.

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Diary of a Canvasser – By-Election Edition

On Saturday I went on my first By-Election canvass since getting involved with Young Fine Gael. I was in Ratoath in Meath East canvassing for the Fine Gael Candidate Helen McEntee who is running for election to replace her father who tragically died before Christmas.

This canvass was different to any other canvass I had done. While I had travelled distances before to canvass, never have I had to travel long distances between houses!!! Yes it was a rural canvass!

Thankfully I was in good company as my friend Sinead, another city slicker like myself, was with me and I would like to think we managed it ably! There was also four members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party in the area, Minister Ciaran Cannon, Deputy Regina Doherty (who’s office was doing an amazing job organising us), Deputy Jerry Buttimer and Senator Colm Burke.

The fresh air, the animals, the smells, and getting in and out of the car so often took a bit of getting used to. Also the numerous holes, bumps and various other things I fell over meant I had an interesting day and slept on the way home! But I think I will definitely be better prepared for my next rural canvass if I have to do one in Cork South Central at the next election.

Now I was expecting to be lambasted out of it on the doors considering everything in the media about the current Government. While there was a lot of unhappiness about the current state of the country, many people understood that recovery takes time, and were waiting it out.

The canvass also reminded me of the inherit politeness of Irish people. While they may not agree with us, they would listen to us and engage and be surprised that we had travelled all the way from Cork to canvass for Helen.

One thing that struck me while up there was the professionalism of the campaign. When we arrived we were handed maps and told exactly where to go. There is a very efficient plan in place which will hopefully pay off on March 27th.

We of course weren’t the only canvass team in the area, Fianna Fail were out with Willie O’Dea canvassing for Sen. Thomas Byrne, Labour were out for Cllr Eoin Holmes, Sinn Fein were out for Darren O’Rourke and Direct Democracy Ireland were out for Ben Gilroy.

It was interesting at lunch time as Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein were all in the same place! Which led to some hilarious conversations as you can well imagine!

It is impossible to tell which way this vote will go, and you never really trust people when they tell you they are voting for your candidate, well you don’t when you have been canvassing as long as I have, but if they were telling the truth Helen has a very good chance of retaining her father’s seat.

Unfortunately I won’t get up to Meath again before the vote, so I am hoping that the people of Meath East will back Helen McEntee who is a young, capable and fantastic candidate and will ably represent the people of Meath East in Dáil Eireann.