Minister of State Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has said fear of change will be a great weapon to the No side in the campaign on marriage equality.
Speaking at the launch of the Trade Unionists for Civil Marriage Equality campaign, an alliance of union members in support of the referendum, the Labour Minister cautioned of the psychological effects a defeated referendum would have in the run-up to the 1916 centenary.
“Who are the State to say that you can’t have a civil marriage to celebrate love in the Republic?” he said at the launch in a Liberty Hall illuminated by the rainbow colours.
“What the No side have as their great benefit is fear. And when you are involved in a referendum campaign you always have to ask people to make a leap of faith to vote yes because you are asking people to make a change,” he said, adding that some may feel comfortable with the status quo, represented by a No vote. “Fear is a great weapon in doing that.”
Rather, he asked people to consider a hypothetical No vote and the impression such a result would make abroad. Fear of that scenario, he said, should “galvanise us as much as we possibly can [be]to win this thing”.
There are over 800,000 trade union members in Ireland and the Irish Congress of Trade Union (Ictu) backed campaign aims to encourage conversation and improve voter turnout.
Ictu president John Douglas warned some would attempt "to muddy the waters".
“There will be those who try to make this referendum about everything else than what it’s about . . . it’s about the personal decision of people to make their own choice to marry or not to marry. A significant proportion of our population is denied that right.”