Eamon Gilmore calls for action on surrogacy
Former tánaiste describes strong Yes vote as ‘a national act of inclusion’
Eamon Gilmore: “I think it was a very powerful declaration of equality by Irish people.” Photograph: Collins Photos
Former tánaiste Eamon Gilmore called on the Government to listen to the concerns of the No campaign and deal with the issue of surrogacy.
Mr Gilmore, who championed same-sex marriage when he was leader of the Labour Party, has described the outcome of the referendum as a “very liberating day” for gay people.
He described the strong Yes vote as “a national act of inclusion”.
“I think it was a day of liberation for gay people,” the Dún Laoghaire TD said.
“I think it was a very powerful declaration of equality by Irish people.
“It is also a very powerful statement to the rest of the world, in many parts of which homosexuals are still persecuted and in many parts of which human rights are still denied,” he said.
Two years ago, Mr Gilmore described same-sex marriage as the civil rights issue of this generation and said there “probably wasn’t a great deal of support for that point of view” at the time.
“Somebody has to take a step out on to the ice at some stage. But anyone who wants to put that theory to the test has only to look at the enormous turnout yesterday and the enthusiasm of young people in particular to come and vote for this issue.”
Mr Gilmore said the No side was very generous in conceding defeat and said its concerns should be addressed.
He said: “Some issues arose in the campaign.
“The issue of surrogacy needs to be addressed by way of legislation. The Government has been preparing that legislation.
“It needs to take on board the concerns that were raised during campaign by people on the No side.”
Mr Gilmore said surrogacy was a complicated area that was separate from the referendum. However, he said those questions, including that of commercial surrogacy, must be addressed by the Government.
The former Labour leader also said the engagement by families was a strong feature of the campaign, adding: “In a way, yesterday’s decision has moved Ireland away from a situation where if you were different in a family you were somehow excluded.
“I felt that families were expressing their views. You knew that families had discussed this and you knew that families were coming together and making a decision, sometime collectively as a family, for all the members of their family.
“This was an enormous decision by everyone yesterday to say we want every member of our family to be part of this family.
“People were going out and doing it not just for themselves, they were doing it for brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles. That sense of family was very much a feature of the campaign.”