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Thursday 21 September 2023 Dublin: 12°C
# State of the Nation
Sinn Féin weighs into the same-sex marriage debate
Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everyone’s talking about…

Same-sex marriage.

Sinn Fein Gay Lesbian Referendums Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland Gerry Adams and Oscar Wilde enjoying some light reading. Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

There’s not many things politicians of all parties and none agree on, but same-sex marriage seems like it has most people on board.

Sinn Féin is to launch a ‘yes’ campaign today, with the party due to lay out its plans in Dublin this morning.

Equality spokesperson Padraig Mac Lochlainn said Sinn Féin will “campaign vigorously for a ‘yes’ vote”.

Mac Lochlainn told the party wants to “send a message to our gay and lesbian citizens that they are equal and they have the right to marry the person that they love”.

He said bullying of gay people will only be comprehensively dealt with by extending full rights, including marriage, to gay and lesbian couples.

All of the main parties and several independents have said they will be campaigning for a ‘yes’ vote on 22 May.

Yesterday, former president Mary McAleese became the latest high-profile figure to speak out in favour of same-sex marriage.

Mac Lochlainn said all public representatives need to encourage constituents to get out and vote as “there’s no room for complacency” – despite what opinion polls say.

Not everyone agrees with the Donegal TD, however. Independent Senator Rónán Mullen previously told us he thinks most politicians will vote ‘no’.

There were amicable scenes when representatives from both sides met yesterday.

How long will that last?

The agenda

  • Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe will launch a tourism initiative for the south and east of the country at the RDS at 11am.
  • As outlined above, Sinn Féin will launch its campaign for a ‘yes’ vote in the marriage equality referendum – at 11am in Buswells Hotel in Dublin.
  • Communications Minister Alex White will be in Riga for an informal EU council meeting.
  • Dr Donal de Buitléir, chairman designate of the Low Pay Commission, will appear before the jobs committee at 1.30pm.
  • The agriculture committee will meet representatives from the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association at 2pm to discuss the basic payment scheme.
  • Agriculture and Defence Minister Simon Coveney will attend events in Louth (3.30pm) and Kildare (7pm).

Inside Leinster House

Dail Scenes Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland Michael Healy-Rae Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

A Fine Gael TD suggested independents want to join the party because they are “powerless” and “frustrated”. In response, Michael Healy-Rae accused some backbenchers of ‘waking up from comas’ because the general election is around the corner.

What the others are saying

  • Jobs Minister Richard Bruton is planning to introduce an early-warning system that would highlight any threat to jobs, according to the Irish Times.
  • The Referendum Commission will distribute two million information leaflets in the run up to the two referendums happening on 22 May, reports the Irish Examiner
  • The same paper states that former junior health minister Róisín Shortall is to press Health Minister Leo Varadkar on the delay of introducing rules to deal with abuse of prescription drugs. 

In case you missed it

  • Leo Varadkar and Senator Catherine Noone were named as Fine Gael’s candidates in Dublin West. At the selection convention last night, the health minister compared independents and small parties to a Monty Python sketch.
  • Proposals for reform of the Seanad were released. 
  • Labour TD and former Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte said he isn’t sure if he’ll run in the general election. 
  • Hillary Clinton joined the race for the White House.
  • A Sinn Féin councillor criticised a proposal that would see all politicians subject to garda vetting procedures.

On the Twitter machine

Equality Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin had this to say to mark the year anniversary of Boko Haram abducting more than 200 girls in Chibok.

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