Thank you #MarRef


I am so, so proud today. Thank you to everyone who canvassed, leafleted, debated, argued, worried, cried, laughed, begged and loved.

We fought for the best cause of all: Love. Nothing was easy or ever seemed certain, but in hindsight, how could we lose?

We fought for equality, for generosity, for kindness. We fought for our sisters, our brothers, our children, our parents, our friends.

We fought for LGBT children, long dead, whose lives were made a misery by a brutal, unloving Ireland.

We fought for LGBT children now grown older who – until only 22 years ago – lived in a land where their very existence was a crime .

We fought for LGBT children just born, or yet to be born, who will now live in a kinder and better Ireland where the love in their heart will mean as much as the colour and the beauty in their eyes.

Senator David Norris​ said “Ireland’s Gay Community is, at most, 10% of the Irish population. We can’t do this without you.” Norris was right. This was 10% of Ireland standing up and the rest of us standing up for that 10%. This was “us” deciding we don’t want an Ireland where there is a “them”. This was us. Just us.

Thank you to everyone who voted YES.

We voted for equality. We voted for acceptance. We voted for love.

We made history.

Ireland is the very first country in the world to legalise marriage equality by popular vote. How cool is that?

Thank you.

Donal O’Keeffe

15 thoughts on “Thank you #MarRef

  1. I am so delighted, overjoyed even, that the yes vote won and that, above all, Love won.
    As a nation we should be so proud of ourselves and of what we have achieved!

  2. Hello.

    So: I’m the twat who trolled you earlier. I’m here to offer you an apology.

    I live in Mexico. I didn’t go #hometovote. I work very close to a lot of the worst violence affecting the country. It doesn’t always get in on me. Today it did in a bad way: there is no point in going to details.

    What’s more: I’m of a generation which left Ireland for painful economic reasons. My memory of living there is fraught with strong negative emotions. So today I felt left out of an unequivocally positive one.

    Here is the honest part: I don’t like your journalism. I don’t like your style of writing. I find your work sentimental and cloying. I don’t want young people from my generation to feel as though words represent their views, because I think they’re off the mark. Nor do I think you hit as hard as you could, when you could.

    But you have rallied a sector of society to a wholly decent cause. And so tonight should have been a moment of justified celebration. And I tried to take that from you: which is all kinds of low.

    Whether or not I dislike your work ought to be irrelevant today: I salute you for canvassing and writing and never stopping. And I know you’ll do it again when it’s time to repeal the 8th.

    Look: I congratulate myself all the time for being a quiet straight ally of gay rights (I was a charity worker for many years). That’s something of a bullshit stance. It comes out of not wanting to be all up in the grill of people I’m presuming to represent. But because that’s a fundamentally passive gesture it’s very easy to see how much laziness there is in it. And it’s very easy when in that position to let self-congratulations of my own to creep in.

    So what I’m saying is it’s better to do something and risk sentimentality than it is to do the quiet ally thing: all very clean and quiet in theory, but a bit useless at public moments such as these.

    I will not ask you to forgive me or accept the apology or anything like that. I will ask you to forget the sting my words might have put in you this evening, and celebrate, and have a good time, and act like I was never there.

    With sincere apologies,

    Tim MacGabhann

    • Hi Tim.

      Thank you for your apology. Yeah, your words were especially hurtful, on a day when those of us who had spent months doing everything in our power to get the marriage equality referendum passed – from knocking door-to-door, to writing what you call cloying and sentimental newspaper articles, to simply willing the thing to pass – should have been enjoying our moment.

      Despite my great age, I’m very new to writing and if you don’t like the way I write, well, that’s fair enough. It’s just over a year since I had my first piece published so I accept that I have a great deal to learn.

      That said, I am glad that I’m old enough to actually not care too much about your opinion and – perhaps because I am a very obviously sentimental man – can allow myself the slightly smug knowledge that, for all my faults, I know how hard writing – as all forms of creativity – can be and I know that I would never try to tear someone down just because I didn’t like what they do or because I was having a bad day.

      It takes guts and decency, though, to apologise and it would be churlish of me not to accept. Just, please, realise that the next person you attack might not be as cussed or robust as me.

      Best wishes to you.

      Donal O’Keeffe.

  3. Amazing..Im hoping you will be the front runner for many countries to follow in the footsteps of! Well done xx

  4. Great news – but I must say with Ireland’s history I was surprised – pleasantly, but surprised. Good job, Ireland!

  5. Times are changing… one day we will live in a world in which no one will be judged or discriminated against… Change takes a long time for some to get used to

  6. It was an incredible decision for Ireland to make and was a huge step forward. I wonder what will happen with the Catholic Church as a result. Glad all you hard work paid off.

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