Roscommon-South Leitrim bucks national trend with 51% against

Enda Kenny gratified following close-fought campaign in which Yes success crests 52%

Roscommon-South Leitrim: While the State backed the same-sex marriage proposal in general this constituency maintained its conservative tradition and bucked the national trend backing the proposal. The electorate is 62,031 but the valid poll was 36,259 – of which 48.48 per cent voted Yes with 51.42 per cent going No.

More than two-thirds of the boxes have been opened in the Roscommon-South Leitrim constituency and it is still too close to call with a 50-50 spilt in many boxes across the constituency, but the No side may just edge ahead.

With no organised tally and tallymen thin on the ground these figures come with a serious health warning – but from the percentage of boxes tallied Roscommon-South Leitrim may buck the national trend and return a No vote with estimates of 52 per cent No and 48 per cent Yes. Turnout is about 59 per cent which is well ahead of the last referendum on Children’s Rights when only 33.8 per cent of voters in Roscommon-South Leitrim took to the polls.

No tallies are being taken in relation to the age of presidential candidates but tallymen predict the amendment will be defeated here.


Of the boxes open in relation to the same sex-marriage referendum, more urban based centres like Monksland in south Roscommon returned a higher percentage of Yes votes. Tallies from one box in Monksland showed 332 Yes votes and 203 No while more rural places like Runnamoate showed 128 No and 100 Yes. Tallies from a box from Fairymount showed 103 No and 82 Yes votes.

All of the boxes have now been opened in the Roscommon-South Leitrim constituency and while it is still too close to call it looks like this constituency may buck the national trend and return a No vote of about 52 per cent and 48 per cent Yes.

With no real organised tally taking place, figures are sketchy and come with a serious health warning. Tallies from more rural parts of the constituency showed a higher percentage of No votes with one box from the Ballaghaderreen area showing a 217 No and 141 Yes – while Fourmilehouse returned 290 No and 204 Yes.

Athleague area showed 211 Yes votes and 189 No votes while a box from Fenagh in south Leitrim showed 77 Yes and 100 No. One box in the Roscommon Town area showed 265 No and 222 Yes.

Counting has just begun for the same-sex marriage referendum and counters are expected to break for lunch at about 2pm, with a result not expected until about 3pm to 4pm.

The constituency has once again bucked the national trend and returned a No vote in the same-sex marriage referendum with some 51.41 per cent of voters against the amendment to the constitution. A total of 18,644 votes cast were against the same-sex marriage proposal with 17,615 Yes votes.

In a constituency with a much older conservative population base it was always going to be uphill battle for Yes campaigners and the voters seem to have been split down the middle.

Turnout was 61.5 per cent which was well ahead of the last referendum on Children’s Rights when only 33.8 per cent of voters in Roscommon-South Leitrim took to the polls.

Will Keane from Ballymurray spearheaded the Yes Equality campaign in Roscommon and he noted that nationally it was a great day for Irish history “a small majority of people in Roscommon decided that they weren’t ready for equality – fair dues, it’s their democratic right”.

Fine Gael Deputy Frank Feighan said it was very positive that 17,615 people voted Yes in Roscommon-South Leitrim and he respected the opinions of people who voted No.

“Roscommon is a very rural county and I am delighted for the support for the Yes campaign. A lot of elderly people and church-going people in the constituency and conservative people voted Yes as well,” said Mr Feighan.

Anne Rigney of the Yes Equality campaign said it was a “bittersweet victory” as while the referendum was carried nationally, Roscommon-South Leitrim voted No.

“I am ecstatic that Ireland has said Yes to all our gay and lesbian sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. It is an historic day for Ireland – I said thank you to the people who voted Yes and to the people who voted No – welcome to the 21st century! Ireland has become a more tolerant, compassionate and welcoming equal society for all her sons and daughters,” said Ms Rigney.

– Mairéad O’Shea

Galway West: Here the Yes campaign engineered another success where the electorate is 95,180 but the valid poll was 52,090. The Yes vote registered 61.50 per cent while the No came in at 38.50.

The constituency is likely to vote Yes, according to early predictions. With 15 per cent of boxes opened it was 61 per cent Yes, 39 per cent No. But it should be noted that these are Galway city boxes, with no rural boxes yet opened. Tallymen are predicting a comfortable victory for the Yes side.

Tallymen were forecasting a victory for the Yes side in the region of 57-43 per cent. Galway city appears to have voted substantially in favour of the proposal for same sex marriage.

With more than three-quarters of the boxes checked and counting well under way in the constituency, party media spokespeople are predicting 61 per cent Yes and 39 per cent No in the same-sex marriage referendum.

Galway East: This constituency tracked the national trend and while the electorate is 85,900, the valid poll was 47,654. The Yes vote came in at 53.28 per cent and the No clocked 46.72 per cent.

Early indications from the count centre are that the marriage referendum will be a close run thing with the possibility of the No vote shading it.

Galway East is one of the top three most conservative-voting constituencies historically and is home to No campaigner Senator Ronan Mullen.

In Senator Mullen’s home polling station of Kilglass, Ahascragh, the vote split 54 per cent No and 46 per cent Yes.

The presidential referendum is likely to be substantially defeated, according to tallymen.

The count well under way in Galway East and agreed tallies are for a close-run thing, with the Yes side now reckoned to be shading it.

Predictions are in the region of 52 per cent Yes and 48 per cent No, but with a lack of experienced tally personnel on the ground at the New Inn count centre a question mark remains over these predictions.

Galway East result marriage referendum: Electorate 85,900; turnout 48,110; Spoiled 456; Valid Poll 47,654;Yes 25,489; No 22,265.

The writing was on the wall from early at the count centre in New Inn.

The only two posters still standing in the rural village – one of them directly outside the local church – gave the lie to what voters were saying across the constituency.

For the No side to have any chance of carrying the day nationally, a resounding victory was required in Galway East, one of the three most conservatively-voting constituencies in the country historically.

But with the towns of Tuam, Ballinasloe and Loughrea all returning a Yes majority, it was soon clear what the outcome would be.

Even a narrow majority for the No side – bolstered by the more rural and older voters – would have been a notable success for the Yes campaigners, but when the official declaration was made, it showed 53 per cent Yes and 47per cent No.

Fine Gael Senator Michael Mullins, who had spent hours checking tallies at the count centre from early morning, said he believed that the personal stories of gay people which emerged in the course of the campaign had resonated with the electorate.

“I think people were very moved by the personal testimonies of loneliness and isolation into adulthood and were anxious to redress the balance.

“I also think social media also had much to do with it, with young people connecting effectively with the electorate.

“All parties will now have to sit up and take notice of the importance of social media from now on,” said Senator Mullins.

– Brian McDonald

Sligo North Leitrim: Another success for advocates of the same-sex proposal was reflected in the hard data with 53.57 per cent in favour against 46.43 per cent going No. The electorate in this constituency is 62,031 but the valid poll was 35,545.

Labour Senator Susan O’Keeffe predicted that the final result in Sligo North Leitrim would be a Yes vote of about 54 per cent. She said it was “hugely significant” as the outcome showed that finally “the State has responsibility to all its citizens and not just to those from a particular faith”.

Senator O’Keeffe said it was a big step for people to take. “There would be a traditional Catholic vote in this constituency. I respect people voting for their faith,” she added.

“ I think what we saw today was the State is able to be separate from our main church. For me that is very significant.”

Fine Gael TD John Perry described it as “a good day for Ireland”.

He said that with the centenary of 1916 approaching the result showed that “clearly we are living up to the ideals of 1916 that every citizen should be treated equally”.

He said it was evidence of an electorate who were more confident and was “a very good sign for Ireland Inc”.

With no results tallied yet from Leitrim, local Fine Gael Senator Michael Comiskey admitted that he was not overly optimistic.

“It will be a lot tighter as it is a little bit more conservative,” he said. The Leitrim senator said that during the campaign he found that people on the doorsteps were “not saying too much” and it was hard to gauge their views.

Many rural areas of Co Sligo have said Yes. It’s 63 per cent for the Yes side in Easkey, 65 per cent in Coolaney and 58 per cent in Enniscrone. In Culleens – which attracted international media attention 30 years ago following reports that four local school girls had seen an apparition of the Blessed Virgin – the vote was No by a margin of 137 to 109 in one box.

The final available tally figures for Sligo North Leitrim shows 53.2 per cent voting Yes and 46.8 per cent voting No. This is based on 80 per cent or 125 of the 155 boxes tallied. A number of Leitrim boxes have not been tallied but the low population base in the county there suggests that the referendum will be carried by a comfortable margin in the constituency.

Long-serving Sligo county councillor Declan Bree (Ind) said: “It took us 99 years to cherish the gay citizens of the nation equally but better late than never.”

Sligo North-Leitrim voted by a margin of 53.6 per cent to 46. 4 per cent in favour of the same-sex proposal, with the high Yes vote in many rural areas one of the talking points at the count.

While rural constituencies are widely perceived as being conservative, tally figures threw up a few surprises. A Yes majority was recorded in many small villages and parishes, including Easkey (63 per cent) and Coolaney (65 per cent) in Co Sligo and Killanummery (68 per cent) in Co Leitrim.

– Marese McDonagh

Mayo: This expansive constituency fell in with the broad sweep of Yes success when 52.02 per cent of voters came out in favour of the proposal for same-sex marriage. The No campaign managed to muster 47.98 per cent and while the electorate numbers 97,296, the valid poll was 55,367.

There was an air of satisfaction and relief about Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the Count Centre in Castlebar after it became apparent early on Saturday that the Yes vote on gay marriage would win the day in the Mayo constituency.

In the end the margin of victory was tight enough with less than 2,600 votes separating the opposing camps.

As in other parts of the country, rural areas voted more strongly than urban ones against the marriage proposal. In the end, the size of the urban Yes more than compensated for the strong No showing in some rural districts.

Voters in the Ballina Municipal District gave a narrow endorsement to the No lobby but the other three municipal districts – Castlebar, Westport and Claremorris – voted Yes, although not by a large majority.

Commenting on the high turnout for both referendums Mr Kenny described it as “a palpable movement of people who wanted to be involved in the voting process”

He said the Yes result nationally was a first globally where by popular vote of the people the Constitution is being amended and added to in respect of the civil law.

Voters on Inishturk Island, eight miles off the Co Mayo coast, were evenly divided on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Eleven islanders voted Yes while the other 11 who exercised their franchise said No.

A senior Fianna Fáil politician attending the Mayo Count Centre claimed it had been a “mistake” to run the two referendums together.

Mayo TD Dara Calleary said the issue about reducing the age at which a person can stand for the presidency had been lost in the run-up to the two ballots.

“We didn’t get a chance to have that full discussion,” said Mr Calleary.

Two miraculous medals were found among ballot papers in the Mayo constituency. They were attached to strands of blue wool and were discovered as count staff sorted the votes in Castlebar.

– Tom Shiel