Campaigners in the Irish constituency of Roscommon-South Leitrim have blamed local politicians for the return of a ‘no’ vote in the same-sex marriage referendum.
The constituency was the only one in the Republic of Ireland to return a ‘no’ vote in the historic referendum.
The YesEquality Roscommon group have said they ‘watched in envy’ as politicians from across Ireland backed the equal rights campaign, saying that compared to the rest of the country, they only received backing from two politicians.
In a Facebook post, they explained: ‘Unfortunately, we were small in number, and did not have the human resources to do, for example, large scale canvasses as seen in other areas. We also suffered from a lack of support from local politicians.
‘Our multiple letters, texts and emails to our elected representatives went, for the most part, unanswered.
‘There were two main exceptions to this, Maura Hopkins, and Frank Feighan. We are forever grateful to them and will remember their help and support for a long time to come.
‘We also won’t forget the lack of support from other politicians when they ask for our votes.’
Speaking separately, YesEquality Roscommon spokesperson Will Keane said: ‘I respect public representatives on either side if they voice their opinion, but the political silence was deafening.
‘They were concerned about how conservative referendum results had been previously. I’m disappointed in all our public representatives with the exception of the two people I mentioned.
‘It is not nice to the red dot at the centre of the map but it is amazing to live in a country where you are equal by popular vote.’
Despite Roscommon-South Leitrim returning a ‘no’ verdict, this was accomplished by a small majority – only 1,029 votes more than ‘yes’.
Openly responding to the ‘no’ voters, YesEquality Roscommon showed no hard feelings, saying: ‘To the 18,644 who voted No, and to others who voted No in every area of Ireland – thank you for being part of this national conversation.
‘We’re certain that you’ll see in due course that this necessary change, decided by the Irish people, 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.
‘Legal equality is here, and we hope that it will play a big part in eradicating discrimination and prejudice in society.’