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Dublin: 9 °C Sunday 20 October, 2019
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A TD walks into a mart and says ’10% of you guys are gay’…

Meanwhile, Enda Kenny has no intention of becoming a gay icon.

CAMPAIGNERS ON BOTH sides of the marriage referendum debate would be forgiven for having canvass-fatigue at this stage, but they show no signs of slowing down.

Today marked the last full day of campaigning and several politicians were out and about, mainly calling for a Yes vote.

Fine Gael’s canvass at the Stephen’s Green Luas stop didn’t go quite to plan – the area was much quieter than usual as the tram’s service was suspended for a while this morning.

A couple of hours later Sinn Féin’s finest stopped by the same area in Dublin city centre to take some time to inspect the hard-to-spot Yes Equality bus.

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Don’t worry, it was stationary at all times.

Gerry Adams said the “line of the campaign” belongs to Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris, who walked into a mart and told farmers ”10% of you guys are gay, come out and vote”.

Ferris quipped back: “But they wouldn’t tell me who the 10% were.”

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The Sinn Féin leader gave an impassioned plea for people to vote Yes.

“It’s all down to the people. Sinn Féin has been clear that we’re calling for a Yes vote. There have been aspects of the debate that have been misleading, disingenuous and offensive but I think the majority of people have engaged in debate in a respectful and tolerant way.

The highlight of this debate has been listening to people who may be gay or lesbian, coming out, standing up and talking about their experiences in very human and personal way – which I think takes great courage. It’s a sign of our society and our coming to terms with all these issues of equality.

When asked if any member of Sinn Féin has received hate mail due to their support of the referendum, Adams said “not to my knowledge”, but pointed out: “We do receive hate mail as a matter of course.”

However, he said that while canvassing for the Carlow Kilkenny by-election he met a male Sinn Féin voter “of a certain vintage” who was “genuinely upset” with the party’s position.

Apart from that, he said people have been largely supportive of a Yes vote.

 Pictured is Sinn Fein President Gerry Ad Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald Source: Leah Farrell/Photocall Ireland

“Sometimes this is being presented as a generational issue, that’s not been my experience,” Adams said, noting that when he went to a gay pride parade last year “most of the people I met where grannies, mammies, aunts, sisters, brothers who were there to show solidarity with their loved ones”.
We’ve a huge opportunity to make an awful lot of people happy and wouldn’t that be a good thing to do on Friday?

After a few words with the press, Adams and co all hopped aboard the bus, with Mary Lou McDonald starting an impromtu version of “The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round…”

Ever thinking on her feet, McDonald turned the second line into: “The people on the bus vote Yes, Yes, Yes, Tá, Tá, Tá.” The rest of the gang were quick to join in.

McDonald said the party is considering releasing its own single after the referendum results are announced on Saturday. Watch this space.

Of course, no Sinn Féin canvass would be complete without Adams shaking hands with a fellow bearded man:

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It’s mandatory, as is a selfie:

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We’ve come a long way.

Enda as a gay icon

At a press conference this afternoon Enda Kenny was asked if he thought he might become a gay icon because of his support for same-sex marriage, to which he responded: “I have no intention of becoming a gay icon.” Shame.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD pictured talk Kenny out canvassing Source: Mark Stedman

Kenny said a Yes vote on Friday will “obliterate … prejudice or the irrational fear of ‘them and us’”.

Speaking at a Labour event this afternoon, Tánaiste Joan Burton said “our job is not finished yet”.

“We’ve won the argument, but we haven’t yet won the vote. There are 55 hours to go before polls close. In that time, we have to do everything we can to make sure we get that Yes vote out.”

“This is not just a social issue, though it is a vitally important one. It’s about the kind of Irish society we want to present to the world.

“Will it be the kind of open, tolerant, inclusive society that treats its citizens equally and reaps the economic rewards of that equality? Will we take the next confident step forward towards a more just and caring national community? Will we stand together and ensure equality of love before the law?,” Burton stated.

An interview with Burton will appear on TheJournal.ie later this evening.

Yesterday, Fianna Fáil and the Anti-Austerity Alliance held press conferences calling for a Yes vote. The Green Party and Renua Ireland leader Lucinda Creighton have also both spoken out in favour of the referendum.

Meanwhile, Mothers and Fathers Matter is urging people to vote No – saying the implications of the referendum have not been fully thought through.

A power interruption from Enda – as Fine Gael picks the WRONG day to canvass Luas passengers

Senator: I don’t think it’s appropriate to teach children about same-sex marriage

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Órla Ryan

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