'Yes' campaign for Marriage Equality kicks off in Blackrock
A Blackrock couple leading the Yes Equality campaign in south county Dublin have spoken of experiencing abuse on the doorsteps.
Last weekend, as part of the national campaign for a Yes vote in the upcoming Marriage Equality referendum on May 22, Lynda Carroll and Patricia Carey started the official canvas in south Dublin.
"Some people we spoke to said they were voting no and we heard a few comments like, 'this is a Christian country' and 'you people should be ashamed of yourselves'," explained Patricia, who is in her 40s and works in the public sector.
"I'm voting no because God said so," was another answer they received while out canvassing last weekend.
The couple, who have been together for the last 15 years, took to Frascati and Blackrock shopping centres as well as Dun Laoghaire, Monkstown and Blackrock DART stations to start the campaign in the area.
While Patricia has never directly experienced homophobia she has kept herself "in-check", and up until five years ago would have thought twice about holding her partner's hand while walking down the street.
Despite being a private person she has decided to lead the campaign here because she does not want to have any regrets.
"I don't want to be one of these people that wakes up on May 23, and says, 'I wish I had done more'," she explained.
The Blackrock campaign officially kicked off last week after the pair decided to organise a local Yes group.
"About 25 people turned up to our house, we felt we wanted to have it locally.
"We talked about what we wanted to achieve, like letting people know that the referendum is on and encouraging people in Monkstown and Blackrock to vote," she said.
Members of all political parties, from People Before Profit to Fine Gael, attended the meeting in their home.
Local businesses in Blackrock, Dun Laoghaire and Monkstown have also got involved by carrying posters in their offices and shop windows.
However, despite the abuse endured last weekend, Patricia reckons that 85pc of people the canvassers spoke to were positive but a quarter of those were extremely uninformed.
"About 20pc of people certainly didn't know the date and were very, very vaguely informed on the issue," she said.
Patricia believes that the biggest challenge for the Yes side is getting people into the polling booths on May 22.
This weekend the campaign will be canvassing in the People's Park in Dun Laoghaire and around the East Pier there too.
There will be door-to-door canvassing too.
A public forum will also be organised for undecided voters in the area, closer to voting day.