A high turnout in the Irish referendum on same-sex marriage, looks to be on course for a Yes win.
People from around Ireland voted on Saturday for an amendment on same-sex marriage.
Early tallies so far indicate a strong Yes vote and approval of the proposition.
Younger voters turned out on mass to vote, with high turnouts across urban centres.
As votes are being counted, senior politicians are saying the vote looks set to be carried.
Minister for Health Leo Varadkar says it could make Ireland a “beacon of light” for the rest of the world in terms of liberty and equality. “It’s a historical day for Ireland,” adding that any No vote would only be a handful.
Irish Times reports:
Parts of Dublin recorded very high Yes votes with an expected overall vote in favour of the amendment predicted to be about 70 per cent in the capital.
Dublin Mid-West voted Yes to the marriage equality referendum with 70.84 per cent in favour.
Based on the completion of 100 per cent of the tallies for the constituency, 29,509 people voted in favour while 11,909 were against. The tally showed a turnout of just under 63 per cent.
County Dublin constituencies are overwhelmingly in favour of the same-sex amendment based on the tally figures.
Formal results are not expected until 4 pm at the earliest. But with 81 per cent of boxes tallied in Dún Laoghaire, the electorate has voted 71 per cent in favour of a Yes. In Dublin North just 28 per cent of boxes have been tallied and they were running at 71 per cent in favour.
Some 70 per cent of voters in Dublin South are saying Yes according to the tally of 65 per cent of boxes. The Dublin South West tally is running at 71 per cent with almost all boxes tallied.
Question now is will any constituency vote No? #MarRef
— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) May 23, 2015
Dublin Mid-West tallies were completed and showed final support at 70.84 per cent in favour of marriage equality. Dublin West voters are more than 70 per cent in favour of the referendum proposal.
Tallies are also returning strong Yes majorities in constituencies across the country with Roscommon/South Leitrim the only constituency out of 43 likely to record a majority No vote where an estimated 52 per cent of voters are believed to have voted against the amendment.
While the official result is not expected until this evening, early tallies are expected to give a clear indication of the likely result.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the same-sex marriage referendum turn-out showed the “palpable movement” of people wanting to be involved.
He particularly noted how young people had travelled around the country to “to put a single mark” on a ballot paper, something that demonstrated the value of the issue at hand.
While too early to call at this stage, he said, there appeared to be a Yes vote in his Mayo constituency and across the nation.
No campaigners have congratulated the Yes side.
Prominent No campaigner and director of the Iona Institute David Quinn seemed to concede the vote shortly after counting began when he tweeted: “Congratulations to the Yes site. Well done.”
The Iona Institute issued a statement congratulating the Yes side “on their win” which they described as “a handsome victory”.
“We hope the Government will address the concerns voters on the No side have about the implications for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience,” it concluded.
No campaigner Senator Ronan Mullen said he is not surprised by the seemingly “very substantial majority” in the Yes vote but remains concerned about changes to the Constitution and its negative impacts.
Nobody in the No campaign thought it was going to be easy, he said.
“We are operating in a political time and place in Irish culture”, up against a very skilled Yes campaign which had the support of all political parties.
Senator Fidelma Healy Eames who also campaigned for a No vote said the referendum “for me was never anti-gay”. She said she had switched her vote from Yes to No simply because of her concerns around Constitutional change and its effect on a child’s birthright.
The No advocacy group Mothers and Fathers Matter expressed “warm congratulations” to the Yes side but said that one in three Irish people – the vote ratio as it currently looks – were not represented by the political establishment.
Yes campaigner and Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power said gay campaigners who told their stories on the doorsteps of voters had “helped to change Ireland for all of us” not just the gay community.
She said she had seen many of them reduced to tears by the experience they had during the campaign. For them, it was often “an incredibly difficult thing to do,” she told RTÉ.
Officials estimates – and they are early estimates – is that a first final constituency result will arrive around lunchtime with a final national declaration toward five o’clock this evening.
Congratulations to the Yes side. Well done. #MarRef
— David Quinn (@DavQuinn) May 23, 2015
Speaking from the main count centre in Dublin shortly after the first tallies emerged Minister for Equality Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said: “I think it’s won. I’ve seen bellwether boxes open, middle-of-the road areas who wouldn’t necessarily be liberal and they are resoundingly voting yes”.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin has said it’s looking like an emphatic yes vote in the same-sex marriage referendum.
Irish Times political correspondent Harry McGee says although early in the day it seems “the die has been cast and it looks like it’s going to be a very comfortable victory for the Yes side”.
Tallies in Dublin’s suburbs show an overwhelming level of support for the amendment with tallymen reporting Yes votes of 78 per cent in Ballyboden, 74 per cent in Ballinteer, 68 per cent in Rathfarnham and 68 per cent in Knocklyon.
Waterford is reporting a 59 per cent Yes vote where the final tally shows 40 per cent voted against the referendum, while 1 per cent spoiled their votes.
The Yes vote is expected to be over 60 per cent in Limerick city while it’s likely to pass by a smaller majority in the county.
There has been a large Yes vote in some of the more disadvantaged areas of Limerick, including 72 per cent in Moyross, 68 per cent in Southill and 72 per cent in Ballynanty.
Senator David Norris, who fought from the 1970s to 1993 to have homosexuality decriminalised, welcomed the result. “I believe that by the end of today gay people will be equal in this country. I think it’s wonderful,” he said.
Minister for Children James Reilly said while the same-sex marriage referendum yes vote is strong in Dublin, it is also strong around the country. He says a lot of voters have been thinking about their grandchildren and giving them the same opportunities in life should they be gay.
If the same-sex referendum is carried Ireland will become the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote.
Ballot papers are initially being separated into piles relating to each referendum. The number of ballot papers in each box will be verified and counting officers will then begin counting.
Ballots for the same sex marriage referendum will be counted first, followed by votes on the presidential age referendum and finally the Carlow-Kilkenny byelection.
As with the last referendum, media facilities are being made available at Dublin Castle and a large international contingent is in attendance.
Following calls from politicians and members of the public on Friday Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW Simon Harris announced that Dublin Castle would also be open to 2,000 members of the public.
Once local counting is complete, the local returning officer will inform the the national returning officer in Dublin Castle of the result, including details on the total electorate; total poll; number of invalid ballots; total valid poll; votes cast in favour of the proposal and votes cast against the proposal.
As the results come in to Dublin Castle from the constituencies they will be made available to the media and the public.
The referendum returning officer will then aggregate the constituency results before declaring the final results, expected by 5pm, for the referendum.
Based on the local returning officers’ reports from each constituency, the referendum returning officer draws up a provisional referendum certificate stating the results of the voting and indicating whether or not the proposal has been approved.
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