Students set for plane, train and automobile scramble to vote

‘Every vote will count’ say students as they prepare for May 22nd trip home

Students will be taking planes, trains and automobiles home to vote in the same-sex marriage referendum on Friday, May 22nd.

Those who have finished their exams are home and dry. Others, who still have exams to do, or coursework to complete, will have to make a rapid round-trip home to vote.

Some of those getting ready to head to bus and train stations to cast their ballot in the referendums talked to The Irish Times.

Danielle O’Sullivan: Masters in Rights and Social Policy, Maynooth

O’Sullivan will be travelling to Tralee in Co Kerry to cast her vote.

She has voted before in general elections and referendums and thinks it is important that people vote, no matter how hard it is to get home on the day.

She is leaving Dublin the evening before the referendum and will travel by train to Tralee, where she will vote. On Saturday, she’ll be straight back on the train to go to Co Westmeath for a family communion.

She is getting ready to hand in her masters thesis in July, and although she has classes on May 22nd, she will be missing them.

O’Sullivan is definitely voting yes. “It’s about equality and civil marriage. It’s nothing to do with children or religious beliefs. I really hope everyone who is registered votes. Every vote will count.

“If you are a student, if you are a young person vote. This vote is our generation’s chance to make a difference.”

Shane Keane: Final year biology student, Maynooth

Friday, May 22nd is going to be a busy day for Shane Keane. He has a two-hour exam from 12.30am until 2.30pm in Maynooth, Co Kildare. After he has put down his pen, he must leg it to station.

The train from Maynooth to Carrick on Shannon in Co Leitrim leaves at 3.30pm. The journey will take one hour and 45 minutes. He's getting picked up in Carrick and will get a lift to Leitrim village. Kane will vote in the local National school. He went to school there himself.

“It is important to me to go home to vote because I have friends, family and neighbours there and I want to make sure they all go out to vote. Some people might even forget there is a referendum, as it is not so high-profile everywhere, so I think it is important to be there to put it in everyone’s mind.”

A lot of students are planning to go home to vote, he says, although others have made sure they have postal votes. “I think students are going to have to turn out to vote if there is to be marriage equality,” he says.

Sean Rooney: Final year law student, Dublin City University

The fact that he has an exam on family law slated for 9.30am the day after the referendum is ironic says Sean Rooney. “If you believe the No side, the referendum will fundamentally change the family, so there you go.”

Rooney plans to tear himself away from his desk on May 22nd to take the bus to Letterkenny, Co Donegal, where his vote is.

“I will have to do the whole round trip in eight hours. I am aiming to be on the 5.20pm bus back, get in to Dublin at 9.20pm, get home and then hit the books again and get ready for my exam the next morning.”

He is going to vote yes, he says and he hopes that students are going to make a real difference to the result.

“It has been wonderful to see students queuing to register to vote. It has really motivated youth power and I think we will see a great turn-out by young people.”

“I’ll be honest, I’ve been involved with student politics for four years and I suffer from a jaded attitude, but I have a real sense that people will vote. I have never seen this before.”

Emma Hoey: Second year student BA in visual merchandising, Dublin Institute of Technology

Emma Hoey still lives in Beamore, Co Louth and commutes to college in Dublin. She will be voting at home, where she made sure she was on the electoral register. It is her first vote. Ever.

She hasn’t seen any posters up in college for the No campaign, only on the streets outside, but is aware that some students may be voting no in the same-sex marriage referendum. “They are keeping very quiet about it, though,” she said.

She is voting yes and hoping that a positive result “will change the country for good.”

People may think that students are lazy, but “we know it will make a difference, so I hope people get up. I think they will.”