Polls pointing towards yes vote in Ireland's same-sex marriage referendum
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Polls pointing towards yes vote in Ireland's same-sex marriage referendum

THIS week, Ireland will see the historic same-sex marriage referendum take place - with the latest polls suggesting that a yes vote will be carried.

A survey commission by The Irish Times puts a yes vote as the favoured outcome with 58 per cent, over 24 per cent on the no side. With a sample of 1,200 readers, this means there is almost a 2 to 1 margin in favour of the yes side.

Two further Sunday papers - The Sunday Business Post and The Sunday Independent, have also predicted that roughly a 60 per cent majority will vote in favour of legalising gay marriage.

But as the race to the polls comes close to its ends, Irish betting giant Paddy Power has slashed odds on both sides of the voting spectrum – with a yes vote coming out on top at 1/8, while a no vote is 9/2 to win.

Voters go to the polls on May 22 and, if gay marriage is legalised, it will mean that Ireland will be the first country in the world to pass this legislation by popular vote.

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It will be an historic day if passed – as Ireland’s conservative attitudes towards homosexuality saw that it remained illegal until 1993, while civil partnerships only became legal in 2010.

Here in Britain, the Irish community appears to be pushing for a yes vote, with several groups mobilising the Diaspora to go home and vote.

Among them is Meath native Joey Kavanagh who set up the Get the Boat 2 Vote initiative earlier this year, to encourage people to go back to Ireland and use their vote.

More recently, Lorcán Ó Catháin, a London School of Economics student from Athlone, set up Change Ireland - an initiative which offers to partially fund the trip home for those who could not pay the fare but wanted to use their vote.

As the final countdown began, Irish celebrities, sport stars and politicians have continued to voice their opinion, on both sides of the water, over the past week.

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson came out in support of a yes vote in Ireland. Her partner Jen Wilson is a Wexford native – and she said she left Ireland so that she would “feel a bit more comfortable in a place that was more inclusive”, also backing the yes campaign.

Elsewhere, Dublin football star Ger Brennan publicly pinned his colours to the no vote, citing his opinions on the parenthood of a child as his biggest reason.

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And TV3 political editor Ursula Halligan felt so compelled to garner support for the yes vote last week that she came out about her sexual orientation for the first time an article in The Irish Times, in which she also urged support for a yes vote.