herald

Wednesday 22 August 2018

'I really want my constituency to pass it' - Murphy hits canvass trail

Housing minister Eoghan Murphy on the canvass for a Yes vote in Sandymount
Housing minister Eoghan Murphy on the canvass for a Yes vote in Sandymount

"In the divorce referendum it was the last voter in each constituency [which pushed it over the line]," Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy told the Herald on a recent canvass in south Dublin for a Yes vote in Friday's referendum.

"And you can never tell just by looking at someone, by their age or gender, how someone is going to vote," he added.

The majority of those answering the door in Sandymount were older men and women.

Appalling

All except four out of around 20 houses are in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment.

"It's appalling what women were made to do in this country. I'm in tears when I think of that poor girl in Galway [Savita Halappanavar]," said one elderly woman who requested that her name be withheld. There are lots of people with strong views so I'd rather not talk in public," she said.

"I just trust women, so I'll be voting Yes," said Trish Horgan. "You'd swear abortion was going to be mandatory the way some people go on about it."

In an effort to get to every house, the minister sprinted from door to door to cover ground. For those undecided, he offered to respond by email to any questions, but noticeably didn't push them.

"Let women decide, give them the choice, I've always felt like this," said Gabriel Kelly.

"I was a midwife, women must have a choice," said Sheila Phelan. "My experience in dealing with women has influenced my vote. I'm voting Yes."

Dublin Bay South has to "win big" to carry the vote, said Mr Murphy, whose constituency is one of the most liberal in the country, with 78pc voting for same sex marriage.

"I really want my constituency to pass it," he said.

But No voter Francis Xavier Carty said: "I know it's awfully difficult, it's terribly difficult, but I can't vote Yes and you won't persuade me, Eoghan."

Tonight is a better canvass. "Several other evenings were more difficult," Mr Murphy warns when it appears he has an easy task.

"I see myself as coming from the liberal wing of the party, although Fine Gael is far younger and liberal now," he says. "Some people have had to struggle with this. I completely respect that, but it has always been straightforward with me."

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