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State of the Nation

Same-sex marriage debate heats up amid growing fears of No vote

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everyone’s talking about…

The same-sex marriage debate has stepped up a gear in recent days, with more people throwing in their two cents on the issue.

Gay Marriage Equality Referendums Alex White and Joan Burton at the launch of Labour's 'Make It Happen' campaign. Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Former Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore joined that list yesterday, warning the Yes side to not become complacent. He told Morning Ireland people who support same-sex marriage won’t necessarily all vote, while those who are “highly motivated to block this referendum from passing” will.

Gilmore said polls carried out by the Labour party show the vote could be a lot tighter than many people expect.

A Labour source previously told some politicians may take a Yes vote for granted because they live in the “bubble” of Leinster House.

Independent Senator Rónán Mullen maintains most politicians will vote No, but are afraid to admit this publicly. Watch him explain the “silent dissent” he thinks is taking place:

Video / YouTube

Will his prediction come to pass?

Yesterday independent TD Mattie McGrath wrote an op-ed for us, explaining why he feels gay people’s rights can be protected without extending marriage to them.

McGrath said: “There is a deliberate and misleading impression being created that those who advocate a No vote are somehow on the wrong side of history and that only access to civil marriage will do as a defining marker of equality for citizens before the law.”

Meanwhile, Leo Varadkar’s sister Sonia wrote an article for the Sunday Independent over the weekend encouraging a Yes vote to ensure “future generations of Irish children … will all be treated with dignity, equality and respect.”

With just 10 days to go until polling, politicians on the Yes side – which includes all of the main parties and several independents – will be hoping they can do enough to get the referendum passed, as more No voters speak up ahead of 22 May.

The agenda

  • The Cabinet will meet today.
  • Representatives from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will engage in talks with unions to discuss restoring public service pay.
  • The Jobs Committee will discuss the all-island economy at 1.30pm.
  • Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin will answer questions in the Dáil at 2pm.
  • Leaders’ Questions will see opposition leaders grill Enda Kenny at 3.15pm.
  • Health Minister Leo Varadkar will attend a meeting in the Seanad at 4.45pm to discuss alcohol consumption in Ireland.
  • During Private Members’ Business at 7.30pm Sinn Féin will propose a motion that “notes the continuing failure of the Government to legislate on the recommendations of the report” of the Mahon Tribunal. The investigation, which was published in March 2012, looked into planning permissions and land rezoning issues in the 1990s in the Dublin County Council area.

What the others are saying

  • Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin writes in the Irish Independent that the public pay restoration talks must be based on “realism”.
  • The same paper reports that members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will have to view footage of thousands of pigs being slaughtered as part of its probe into the running of a special investigations unit at the Department of Agriculture.
  • The Irish Times reports that a European Commissioner has warned Ireland to sustain economic reforms.

Inside Leinster House

Could Leinster House become more like the Girl Guides? Joan Burton thinks that would be a good idea.

In case you missed it

On the Twitter machine

The latest same-sex marriage debate had a lot of people talking – with praise for both the Yes and No sides.

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