Exam rota changed so students can vote in gay marriage poll
ONE of the country's largest universities has cancelled examinations on May 22 in a move aimed at encouraging students to vote in the Marriage Equality referendum.
Dublin City University (DCU) President Professor Brian MacCraith told the Herald that the college authorities want to make it as easy as possible for students to return home to vote.
University College Dublin (UCD) previously said it is considering making changes to its examination timetable to facilitate students who wish to vote.
The decision by DCU is significant given that recent opinion polls show that the majority of college-goers intend to vote 'yes' in next month's referendum, which proposes the right of marriage to same sex couples.
The summer examination timetable will now take into the account the referendum scheduled for May 22, Prof MacCraith confirmed. However, he confirmed that the decision will apply to future referendums and elections and is not just specific to the Marriage Equality vote.
Tiernan Brady, Policy Director of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), said it is essential that college goers are given every opportunity to cast their vote.
"We see the decision by DCU as being brilliant news. It's so important that we can encourage a high turnout and make it as easy as possible for people to vote and that includes students who may live far away from where they are registered," he told this newspaper last night.
The issue of the referendum was raised with Taoiseach Enda Kenny this week by a gay Irish man living in Austin, Texas.
During a questions and answers session with young entrepreneurs at the South By South West technology festival, Clare man John Normoyle said he intends to return to Ireland to marry if the referendum is passed.
Mr Kenny said the Government will campaign for a 'yes' vote.
"It's an issue dealing with a straight forward question in respect of the of the right of civil marriage to apply to people irrespective of their sexual orientation," Mr Kenny said.