Referendum shows us there is no Middle Ireland, just Ireland

Irish Times

May 26, 2018

By Una Mullally

‘The fiction of Ireland as a conservative, dogmatically Catholic country has been shattered’

The handover period is over. The fiction of Ireland as a conservative, dogmatically Catholic country has been shattered. The past is left back there, and a new legacy is being created. A legacy of compassion, empathy, and maturity – a country taking responsibility for the care and health of women and girls. What happened in the referendum vote was seismic, but more seismic still was the realisation that this vote was reflecting change, not just instigating it. “They listened to us. They actually listened to us,” a young woman said to me, crying, in the RDS on Saturday morning.

Together For Yes ran an excellent campaign, from start to finish. As the No campaign scraped the barrel, the Yes campaign always acted with dignity, with facts to the fore, and never once stooped. Together For Yes built an army around the country. An army of Us. In the RDS, people burst into tears when the Together For Yes bosses came into the room.

For many, Ailbhe Smyth’s determination and calmness has been a source of great inspiration for decades. During the campaign she wore herself down so much that she struggled to walk in the final days. Meanwhile, female journalists from competing newspapers hugged each other when they spotted one another. Mary Lou McDonald was cheered by Labour party members, Simon Harris was cheered by people from Sinn Féin. This was a feminist movement; non-partisan, grassroots, non-hierarchical where possible. We were all Together For Yes.

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