herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Hozier among throng of emigrants coming home for historic vote

Hozier wins the best song musically and lyrically award, for Take me To Church at the 60th annual Ivor Novello Awards, at Grosvenor House in London
Hozier wins the best song musically and lyrically award, for Take me To Church at the 60th annual Ivor Novello Awards, at Grosvenor House in London
Mark Govern
Ellen Buckley
Mireann Bird
Resident drag queen at The George, Davina Devine with TV3's Vincent Browne with dancers Orlando and Emilio outside the George yesterday ahead of the Referendum Results show which will be live from The George this coming Saturday

Singer-songwriter Hozier is just one of the many committed Irish people who are coming home to vote in the marriage equality referendum today.

The Take Me To Church singer has been encouraging his fans to vote 'Yes' throughout the campaign and yesterday revealed he would be jetting home after winning an Ivor Novella award in London.

"Eire, I have some hours free, - flying in to vote tomorrow. It's the most important thing you'll do. Don't forget," he wrote online.

Meanwhile, thousands of Irish have travelled home from across the world to make their voice heard - with more expected to make it a busy day at airports today.

READ MORE: Brendan Courtney: A 'Yes' vote would make all of the grief worthwhile

Tallaght native Mark Govern (31) has emptied his bank account to jet home from Australia to cast his vote.

Mark Govern Pic.jpg
Mark Govern

"I moved to Sydney last August for a personal challenge and I wanted to try living in a different country before I was too old for a visa," Mark told the Herald.

READ MORE: Vote for love, says Kenny as No side predict tight decision

"I am a gay man and have been actively campaigning with my friends for marriage equality for several years.

"In Australia I can't actively participate except via social media. I have been following the campaign intently as have my friends and we raised €8,500 in Sydney for Yes Equality.

"I decided that since I am still eligible to vote I would use use it. It's a one-in-a-generation chance. I'd regret not doing it," he said.

"So I took extra annual leave from work and emptied my bank account to buy a €1,150 ticket home," he added.

According to Joey Kavanagh (29), who established the Get The Boat 2 Vote campaign, hundreds if not thousands of Irish people have made their way home to vote today.

"Flights from London have been booked up for days now so we've been sharing details of how to get home by train and then the boat," he explained.

"It's far less expensive and groups travelled together last night and today to make it back.

"People from Europe, the UK, Australia, America, all over the world have been sharing their stories of coming home to cast their vote today - it's so encouraging.

"I hope people at home will see the effort, time and money that those abroad have put in to get back and that will encourage people here to get out and vote," he added.

Tipperary native Ellen Buckley (23) also took time off work to jet home to vote in her old primary school in Tipperary town.

Ellen.jpg
Ellen Buckley

"Like many, I was concerned that a lot of my generation who are in favour of marriage equality are either living abroad or are not registered," she said.

"If someone from a future generation asked me about it I couldn't bear to think of my answer being 'No actually, I didn't bother'. I like to think that I will ultimately settle in Ireland so having a say in changes like this is very important to me.

register

"Nearly all of my friends from Ireland that live in London have come home, apart from some who have been there for a couple of years so are no longer on the register," Ellen said.

"The referendum has been a common topic of conversation among my friends for weeks now and while we are all voting 'Yes', there's no guarantee that it's going to pass," she added.

Muireann Bird (24) from Meath says she "hopes she'll be a proud Irish woman tomorrow".

"I'm living in London and I came home because I'm so proud of being Irish and I honestly can't imagine facing my friends in London in if the result was no," she said.

Bird.jpg
Muireann Bird

Meanwhile, Cork ladies football legend Valerie Mulcahy (31) issued an 11th-hour plea for a 'Yes' vote today after going public about her sexuality last January.

Valerie said Ireland now has an historic chance to deliver "kindness, compassion, acceptance and love for everyone and not just for some".

Elsewhere, it was announced that Vincent Browne will present TV3's Marriage Referendum Results Show live from The George Bar from 4pm to 6pm on Saturday.

The programme will bring all the latest from the polling stations and reactions from various contributors.

Special guests include Senator David Norris, former Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Fine Gael's Jerry Buttimer and Katherine Zappone, Brendan Courtney and Bosco.

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