COUNTING is underway in the marriage equality referendum at the University of Limerick Sports Arena, with the indication that the motion will be passed in both Limerick constituencies.
Estimated turnout figures suggest that 59.2% of the electorate voted in the city, and 58.5% in the county. All of the boxes are now open. Counting is expected to start around 2pm.
Yes Equality campaigners are carrying out unofficial tallies at the count and the numbers would appear to suggest that the county Limerick constituency has seen 54% of people vote in favour of the marriage equality referendum.
With all ballot boxes tallied, the figures stand as such:
City Yes - 63%
County Yes - 54%
There were also emotional scenes at University Arena shortly after the final tally, when a surprised woman said Yes to her long term girlfriend after she proposed.
Billie, 41, who doesn’t use a surname, popped the big question to Kate Stoica, 26, as Bruno Mars’ Just The Way You Are played out of the Arena speakers.
“Kate we make a great team. I love you inside and out, head to toe I don’t want to waste another minute of my life without you as my wife,” said Billie to the bride-to-be.
“I’m very overwhelmed right now and slightly mortified,” said Katie who was surrounded by friends and family.
Billie said that she had been planning the proposal for the past few days.
According to the final tally result the highest Yes vote recorded in County Limerick was 77% in one box in Doon, while the highest No vote was 57% in Dromcollogher.
There were 71% of Yes votes in one box in Caherdavin Girls School with tallies indicating 68% of Yes votes at a box in Scoil Ide in Corbally.
At JFK national school where turnout was 70%, there was a high Yes vote recorded in many of the boxes tallied.
In County Limerick in one of the boxes tallied in the village of Banogue there was 54% of No votes while the result was also mixed at some of the boxes tallied in Kilmallock. One box in Doon national school indicated 77% of Yes Votes.
One box tallied indicated a 65% Yes vote in Kilfinane, while there were 52% of No votes recorded in neighbouring Ardpatick.
The highest tallied Yes is a box in Monaleen with 79% Yes votes.
There has been a large Yes vote in some of the more disadvantaged areas of Limerick, including 72% in Moyross, 68% in Southill and 72% in Ballynanty.
Speaking at the count centre in Limerick Minister for Education said she was hopeful of a successful outcome.
“I am very hopeful that it will be a Yes vote but certainly it is mixed here. I have just been looking at some of the rural boxes which in some are a bit more No than Yes, but then some of the city boxes are a good bit more Yes than No.
“I think it’s early days I think we will have to wait a little bit longer but I would say the Yes is ahead but it’s very hard to tell how much ahead at this stage.”
Yes Equality campaigner Jenny Hannon gave the following reaction a short while ago:
“We have been canvassing for six weeks and up until the last two weeks, we have integrated the campaign in the county. It was always looking tight, both in the city and county. The reason why there has been such a strong Yes vote in Limerick City North is because it is a relevant issue for people who live there, as a lot of the LGBT community live in those areas. So it was a community-based issue. And people really believed that had the opportunity to make a change in society. We did convert the undecided and the soft nos.”
TD Patrick O’Donovan said:
“The ‘Yes’ vote is a lot higher than what the commentators would have given it credit for in rural constituencies, and it looks like it will be carried in the rural constituencies. There is a large number of ‘No’ votes, but in the grand scheme of things, I don’t think people would have genuinely expected the ‘Yes’ vote to be as big as it was in parts of rural constituencies.”
The Limerick Leader will have updates to follow here on LimerickLeader.ie and in the print editions next week on the results.