Yes canvassers claim social class a factor in marriage vote

Working class areas mainly Yes with middle class areas more mixed, say canvassers

Gráinne Healy and Brian Sheehan from Yes Equality put up a posters. Photograph:  Paul Sharp/Sharpix

Gráinne Healy and Brian Sheehan from Yes Equality put up a posters. Photograph: Paul Sharp/Sharpix


Social class is the greatest determinant of how people on the doorsteps say they will vote in next week’s marriage equality referendum, according to canvassers in Dublin today.

“Working class areas are overwhelmingly Yes while middle class areas are much more mixed,” says Gráinne Healy of the Yes Equality Campaign.

Speaking as she handed out ‘Vote Yes for equality’ on Henry Street this morning, she said she had canvassed Finglas and Glasnevin during the week.

“Finglas was almost all Yes votes. Every door that opened, people were saying, ‘No need to give us a leaflet, save them, there are four Yes votes here’. Whereas in Glasnevin, let’s just say it was far more mixed. In places like the inner-city, a very strong Yes, while in places like Stillorgan and south Dublin there’s more resistance.

“One friend in Dun Laoghaire put it, ‘The bigger the car in the drive the less likely they are to want to share’,” she said.

Out canvassing with her was Colin O’Brien, who also said the Yes vote was stronger in working class areas.

“I’ve been canvassing for the past week. I’ve been in Cabra, Beaumont, the Navan Road and Stillorgan. I’d say really positive Yes in Cabra and really quite negative in Stillorgan. Some quite angry No reactions in Stillorgan actually.”

The other group “overwhelmingly” Yes, says Healy, is mothers with young children. As she stopped a number of women with buggies and prams, all said they were voting Yes.

“Definitely, of course,” smiled a young women pushing her charge in a beige pram towards Mary Street.

Annette O’Brien from Tallaght was in town with her son “shopping for his confirmation”.

“Oh I’m voting Yes. I have a nephew who’s gay and everyone deserves equality. You can’t help who you fall in love with.”

One older woman, on her way into Debenhams, was determined she would be voting No.

“Oh no way. Think about the children. Can you imagine being in a house with no mammy? What about when they’re 14 and going through all the changes and there’d be no mammy there for them. No, no, no.

“No,” she repeated shaking her head and refusing to engage.

Another elderly man, however, walking at speed past the entrance to the Jervis Centre said he was voting No. Healy kept up with him. “Can I ask why?”.

He stopped and said he didn’t see the need for it, that there were civil partnerships and he wouldn’t like to see gay people getting married in his local church.

“But this will has nothing to do with marrying in Church,” explained Healy. She went on to tell him gay people would not marry in Church as a result of a Yes vote, but in a registry office.

This appeared to be news to the man and he took a flyer, agreeing he would consider voting Yes.

A number of tourists also stopped. A man from Northern Ireland smiled broadly, saying, “If you can get me a vote I’ll vote Yes,” while a young man with an American accent said: “I wish I could vote Yes for you.”

A Frenchman smiled, saying “For us this is already done.”