Saturday 29 October 2016

Yes vote shows innate Irish sense of justice and fairness is alive and well

Panti at Dublin Castle
Panti at Dublin Castle

DID you give yourself a clap on the back this week? You should have, particularly if you voted 'Yes' last Friday.

The country voted by a large majority to introduce same-sex marriage. As a result Ireland has been feted around the world in recent days, our decision applauded.

So we can feel justly proud that Ireland now stands at the forefront of the worldwide movement for equal rights for LGBT people.

The scenes of euphoria and elation that we witnessed at Dublin Castle last Saturday, where the likes of Panti Bliss mixed with politicians and many, many delighted voters, mirrored the celebratory mood of most people around the country.

There was a feel-good factor that I haven't felt in a long time.


The resounding 'Yes' vote showed me one thing - the innate sense of fairness and justice that Irish people possess.

As such, it was not a surprise. When push came to shove we were never going to close the door to our fellow citizens.

Of course, a 'Yes' vote would have been unthinkable in the intolerant, priest-driven Ireland that we endured for much of the 20th century.

That's why last Friday's vote has forever changed the political and social landscape here.

It has heralded a sea-change and has confirmed that Ireland, for all its recent economic problems, is a modern, progressive and enlightened nation. We have indeed cast off the shackles of the past.

I am hopeful that, at the end of the day, the result of this referendum will usher in a new era of openness and diversity.

What better way to celebrate the centenary of 1916 next year?

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