Cork, Friday 29 May 2015
What a difference a week makes. Already we are getting used to a world that is both changed and unchanged. Changed of course by the massive Yes vote, but yet unchanged as life in many other ways goes on.
Huge work has been done in the last few days taking down Yes Equality posters all over Cork County, especially by TJ, John and Arthur, with help from many more invisible hands. Other less obvious jobs have been carried out too as part of the wind-down process.
The goal of Yes Equality Cork was to provide a structure and a focus around which great people could conduct a great campaign. Under the direction of Arthur Leahy and Kate Moynihan (two of our founding members) and Una Feely and Ken Curtin (both hired by Yes Equality Cork for the final referendum campaign) – we achieved that goal, most of the time!
Now we formally bid farewell to Ken, whose contract with Yes Equality Cork ends today, with warm thanks for a job well done. Una will be with us a little longer before returning to her post at the national treasure that is the Quay Co-op.
A group of Yes Equality Cork Committee members have plans for a social gathering open to all who helped and supported the campaign. More will be revealed on that soon.
From now on please note that the best contact email for Yes Equality Cork is firstname.lastname@example.org. Other personal email accounts will be closing as people move on. Our phone number remains active for the time being +353(0)214307696.
Thank you for the privilege of allowing us to work alongside you in an effort that has changed lives and has captured the imagination of the world.
Chairman – Yes Equality Cork
Cork, Saturday 23 May 2015
Yes. We always knew this campaign would end in tears. We just weren’t sure which kind of tears they would be. Now we know. Thanks are due to everyone who worked for this day.
The people of Ireland have taken a brave and trusting step forward. They voted with confidence and compassion. With this Yes, the Irish People have shown their families, their friends and not least themselves, what their true values are. Family matters. Children matter. Everyone matters.
Ireland has lit a beacon bright enough to be seen around the world. Ireland is the first country to vote by nationwide referendum for marriage equality for all of its citizens. That is the first of three astonishing achievements of this campaign.
Everyone who could came home to vote, pouring in from every corner of the globe. Others asked us to stand for them. It is an honour to be asked to stand for somebody. From London to Sydney, from San Francisco to Shanghai we saw the pictures. Irish people stood up together for equality.
Closer to home in Ireland, in every parish, every county, every town, every city we knew of the silent Yes. Canvassers heard it as they stood in the street or as they went door to door to strangers’ houses. Sometimes it was only a whisper. Sometimes it was a only a look. But when we saw it, we knew what it was. Beyond the media campaign, beyond the shrill noises, if you listened carefully you could hear those quiet voices too.
The conversations these past weeks have been mighty. People have spoken in a way that they would never have spoken before, within families, between families and with complete strangers. This has been a hugely positive experience overall. A silence has been broken forever.
We salute the courage of everyone who endured what has been at times a damaging experience. Vulnerabilities were exposed and exploited. Insulting words posted up outside people’s homes or in our streets could not be ignored. They hurt people. Vicious things were said to some canvassers. Emotional wounds have been sustained. We will do what we can in helping to bind up those wounds.
Ireland is great for talk. A brand new conversation has begun. It will continue. This is the second great achievement of this campaign.
The final achievement was the political awakening of a new generation. Young people drove the campaign with an energy and creativity that was unstoppable. They knew that for once their vote could make a difference. And what a difference!
Some people said that we were trying to redefine marriage. They missed the point. We were trying to redefine home. Ireland is a more welcoming home place this morning for all of its sons and daughters.
Two weeks ago Transition Year students at Largy College in Clones, Co. Monaghan won First Prize at the National Young Social Innovators Awards with a project against homophobic bullying. They reworked the four initials LGBT into a great phrase: Let’s Get By Together. Let’s take our children’s advice.
Statement by Joe Noonan, Chairman, Yes Equality Cork
Contact Yes Equality Cork
Yes Equality Cork Statement at Close of Poll
10pm Friday 22 May 2015
The signs are that the Irish people have turned out in large numbers in the marriage referendum. This is welcome news. Whatever the outcome, it will reflect the view of the nation, and not just a small section.
This has been a profound and a life-changing moment for Irish people.
We do not yet know the result, but there are some things we do know. This campaign sparked a national conversation, or more accurately, it sparked countless private and public conversations on who we are, how we see ourselves, how we see each other, and on how we can best support important human relationships.
Those conversations were deeply personal. Many were challenging and for some they were distressing. There were internal conversations, as individuals examined their own long-held views, conversations within families, conversations between the generations, and most remarkably perhaps, intimate conversations between strangers. There are far fewer strangers in Ireland now and many many more friends.
Yes Equality Cork was established with a small nucleus of experienced organisers eight months ago. It rapidly grew beyond all expectations. The seriousness of what was at stake meant that people from all walks of life joined the campaign in huge numbers and when they joined in the effort for a Yes they excelled. Most were new to political activity. The result was a campaign the likes of which we think has not been seen before in this country. Everyone gave it their all. Young people felt that for once, their vote could change something for the better. They became the Yes campaign.
Whatever way the vote goes, Ireland today is a wiser, warmer, richer place.
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