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This audience member's reaction was clear ... what did everyone else make of the Late Late debate?

Strong exchanges, personal experiences, and a diverse array of speakers made last night’s debate a must-watch affair.

PASSIONS WERE RUNNING high in the RTÉ studios last night – as campaigners from either side of the same-sex marriage argument took part in a Late Late Show debate. 

For the Yes side, Amnesty Ireland director Colm O’Gorman and Irish Times columnist Una Mullally were the main speakers. Keith Mills of Mothers and Fathers Matter and Petra Conroy of Catholic Comment took to the podium for the No campaign.

The tone was serious, but remained civil throughout. There were regular cheers of encouragement and rounds of applause (of varying degrees of intensity) as speakers from either side made their points.

As the debate played out, the reactions of individual audience members came in for comment on social media – including the woman below, who seemed to run a gamut of emotions from surprise to resignation as the contributor in front of her spoke of the need for gender balance in parents of children.

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A strong exchange between Mullally and Paddy Manning, a gay man campaigning for a No vote, was also remarked upon online.

Speaking from the audience, Manning said that when he was growing up, being gay in Ireland was a “terrifying experience”. However, he then hit out at the array of charities – including Barnordos, and the the ISPCC – campaigning in support of the constitutional change.

“I don’t care what those charities say, I don’t care how they are being misled, I don’t care how they’re cosying up to the consensus politicians for money,” he said.

I know what it’s like to love, I know what it’s like to lose – and I know the heartbreak. But I also know that the best place for children is with a mother and a father.

Mullally’s response was met with a further round of applause from the audience:

I do think it says a lot that someone would sit there and say ‘I don’t care what children’s charities say’.

Source: David Cochrane/YouTube

The producers of the programme came in for widespread praise on social media for the way the debate was organised.

But what did you think?

Did either side win over new supporters?

As always, let us know in the comments section…

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