The people of Ireland have voted YES for marriage equality — regardless of sexuality — in a public referendum, with one of the largest turnouts in voting history; we are the first country in the world to make this choice by popular vote.
I’ve never been prouder to be Irish.
The escalating momentum of #hometovote, over the past couple of days, with Irish men and women abroad pouring back into the country by train, boat and plane, to ensure their voices were heard, has been extraordinarily moving.
The public outpourings, the crowds at Dublin Castle this afternoon — both in the courtyard and bringing the streets to a standstill outside — as the results were announced, and the inevitable celebrations carrying on well into the night, signal something else: national pride and a return to joy.
Today, something fundamental has changed: about how we see ourselves as a country, and how our country is seen in the world — not making headlines as a financial disaster area but as a poster child for democracy and social change:
Across the country, the streets are buzzing tonight and everything feels possible again. Strangers are talking to strangers: sharing their stories, opening up, coming alive. We have rediscovered hope.
Equality is one of the overriding principles expressed in the founding document of the Republic of Ireland; today we realised that vision.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring?