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Three days to go, but will the Yes side hold on to its clear lead?

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…
May 19th 2015, 12:00 PM 13,023 98

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Everyone’s talking about… 

All the polls indicate the Yes side is on course for victory in Friday’s referendum and yet there’s a sense from both sides of the campaign that it’s all to play for. The Dáil sits for just one day this week as all parties concentrate on the final hours of campaigning.

As we analysed last night there is no accurate way of predicting how many ‘shy No voters’ there are i.e. those who tell pollsters they’re voting Yes but will put an X in the No box in the secrecy of the voting booth.

But it’s also worth noting that the referendum that this one is often compared to, the 1995 divorce vote, was incredibly close in the polls a week or two out from the campaign. This time around almost all polls indicate fairly solid support for Yes with one, the Sunday Independent’s Millward Brown survey, showing that nearly a quarter of voters are undecided. Even if they all swung to the No side, as they often do, the referendum would still probably pass.

14/05/2015. Labour - Marriage Equality Video. Pict Joan Burton and John Lyons at a Labour party Yes event last week Source: /Photocall Ireland

And yet, everyone on the Yes side is nervous, and the unfortunate government row that broke out over the weekend over which minister – Leo Varadkar or Alex White – should go on tonight’s final Prime Time debate was unedifying and distracting. In the end White will speak for the Yes side tonight.

The No side can remain confident. They’ve put the issues of surrogacy and adoption front and centre of this campaign and they’ve chipped away at the Yes side’s lead. All indications are that the referendum will pass, but no one who wants to it to is shouting that from the rooftops. Don’t expect them to either.

The agenda 

  • There is no cabinet meeting today as the Taoiseach is in the west to meet Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at the start of their four-day visit to Ireland. 
  • Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness are also due to meet with the royal couple today. 

  • 11.30am: The Health Committee hears from bereaved parents of babies who died at the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise. At 3pm, HSE boss Tony O’Brien is back before the committee. 
  • 2pm: Charlie Flanagan takes foreign affairs questions in the Dáil.
  • 3.15pm: You’ll all be gutted to know that there is only one Leaders’ Questions this week. 
  • 2.30pm: The banking inquiry meets in private session ahead of a busy week of public hearings which begin tomorrow.
  • 9.35pm: The final major TV debate of the referendum campaign takes place on Prime Time.  
  • The Seanad is off all week.

Inside Leinster House

Over the weekend we brought you details of our survey of every Oireachtas member about the two referendums. The story was a result of two weeks of work by our political team, Órla Ryan and Hugh O’Connell. But, unfortunately, the lack of anonymity meant some Oireachtas members were reluctant to be forthcoming with their honest views. One we spoke to insisted they are Yes to marriage, but a No to presidential age. When we told them their views would be published, they quickly backtracked and said they were a Yes and Yes. Only when we convinced them that there was safety in numbers on the second referendum did they agree to allow their name be published.

screenshot.1432018890.76302 Source: www.thejournal.ie

What the others are saying 

  • The Irish Independent says that couples would have to go to the courts if they wish to have a child through surrogacy. 
  • Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness is voting No in the same-sex marriage referendum, according to the Irish Times.
  • Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan has said there will be no change to school curriculum if the referendum is passed, according to the Irish Daily Mail.
  • The Irish Examiner says a smear campaign has been launched against Fianna Fáil Fáil councillor and former minister Mary Hanafin with negative posters appearing around her constituency. The same ones were spotted in the vicinity of the party’s Ard Fheis at the RDS last month.

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In case you missed it 

On the Twitter machine

Someone’s a bit sick and tired of all this referendums chat.

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Hugh O'Connell

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