VIDEO: Yes campaigners blame lack of political support for country's only No vote

Yes campaigners in the country's only constituency to vote No to marriage equality have said a lack of support from local politicians was a key factor in the No outcome.

When Roscommon-South Leitrim's 51.42% No vote was announced in Dublin Castle on Saturday, it was greeted by loud boos from those gathered in the courtyard.

The YesEquality Roscommon group said its small volunteer numbers and a lack of support from local politicians, including ignored emails and letters, contributed to the No vote in Roscommon-Leitrim.

The group had only about 40 members in total, with about 12 of those actively canvassing.

"We watched in envy as well-known politicians in almost every other area in the country got publicly and deeply involved in the campaigns in their areas," a facebook post from the group reads.

"Our multiple letters, texts and emails to our elected representatives went, for the most part, unanswered."

The group said there had been two exceptions to the overall lack of local political support, and thanked Roscommon County Councillor and community activist Maura Hopkins and Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan for their help.

"We are forever grateful to them and will remember their help and support for a long time to come," the group said.

However, in a stinging rebuke to the constituency's other politicians, the post goes on: "We also won’t forget the lack of support from other politicians when they ask for our votes."

Fianna Fáil councillor John Keogh responded to the rebuke in a comment posted to the facebook post. He said it was "wrong to try to shame politicians who were not in attendance at specific events organised by (the YesEquality) organisation".

He said that while he had been advocating a Yes vote publicly on Facebook and on the ground in advance of the referendum, those who supported the No side had a "personal prerogative to do and they should be respected for their stance".

Cllr Keogh said he had apologised for not being able to attend the launch of the Yes Equality table quiz in Lecarrow.

In reply, YesEquality Roscommon said their comments were not about why politicians had not attended specific events, saying that was not of any great significance. The group added: "It’s great to hear that you campaigned, though your coordination with our campaign would have been appreciated. We would have welcomed and valued your knowledge and your advice from you or any member of your party.

"Regarding ‘naming and shaming’ - we didn’t name anyone, other than the two who we singled out for praise. Thank you for your support for a Yes vote."

Despite the cool feelings revealed in the post, Yes Equality Roscommon have said it was important to remember how close the vote was, and referenced the "thrilling and encouraging support" received from many people in Roscommon .

In a post on the group's facebook page, YesEquality Roscommon said: "It’s important to remember that 17,615 people in Roscommon-South Leitrim voted Yes to civil marriage equality (just 1,029 fewer than voted No). It’s worth noting too, that many individual polling stations showed a majority for Yes.

"To the 18,644 who voted No..., (the Yes vote)is in everyone’s best interests, including making Ireland a better place for you, should you, a family member or a friend of yours come out as LGBT.

"As a result of this referendum, Ireland is already a kinder place."


By Jill O'Sullivan

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