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Studio clashes, Bosco ... Here's what to expect in the countdown to referendum day

Passions have been running high in the debate so far – and there’ll be plenty more opportunities for the two sides to get their points across.

marr Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, Bosco, John Waters.

THERE’S BEEN HUGE interest in the big set-piece media debates of the same-sex marriage referendum over the last week or so – starting with last Friday’s Late Late, and continuing with Prime Time and Vincent Browne.

Away from the TV studios, the main political parties have also been staging their own events, and arguments over Yes and No posters have been swamping the Twitter and Facebook feeds of social media users.

So what’s happening over the final few weeks – before the country goes to the polls on 22 May?

Well, probably the biggest campaign event on the Yes side happens in Dublin tomorrow.

Organised by campaign group LGBT Noise and hosted by comedian and actress Tara Flynn, organisers say they’re hoping thousands will attend their ‘Be There For Yes’ rally at Merrion Square West at 2pm, outside Government Buildings.

So far, Senator Katherine Zappone is the only politican’s name on the bill. Various campaigners and activists will also address the rally – and there’ll be a special appearance by Bosco, who, along with fellow children’s puppet Dustin, came out in support of a Yes vote last month.

A spokesperson for Mothers and Fathers Matter – the main campaign group on the No side – said it wasn’t planning any similar public events. A public meeting held recently in Cork had been very well attended, the spokesperson added.

On the screen

The final two major TV debates also take place in the next ten days – on the Claire Byrne programme, and on Prime Time.

At least one major Government heavy-hitter – a senior minister – will be lining up for the Claire Byrne Live show, according to sources. The word from RTÉ is that it will also include an ‘authored report’ from a surprise guest, who hasn’t been directly involved in the public debate to date.

Airing on Monday at the earlier-than-usual time of 9.35pm the show will also include a “head-to-head debate and contributions from the live studio audience”.

 

Miriam O’Callaghan will chair the final television debate on May 19, live from the Prime Time studio. Again, a spokesperson for the No campaign said it had been in regular contact with producers from both programmes about arranging speakers.

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