Campaign urges Irish people abroad to return home for equal marriage vote

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A Irishman living in London is urging Irish people to return home to vote in the same-sex marriage referendum.

Get the Boat 2 Vote is a campaign launched to encourage Irish people to return home to vote in the upcoming referendum.

Joey Kavanagh, 28, set up the campaign, because he wanted to play his part in the historic referendum.

He told The Irish Post: “I moved here a few months ago and always knew I wanted to go back and vote.”

Under Section 5 (4) of the Electoral Act 1963, Irish citizens overseas still have full voting rights if they have been living away from Ireland for less than 18 months. The campaign is encouraging people to return and vote if they are still eligible.

Kavanagh, originally from Co. Meath, said people have responded well to Get the Boat 2 Vote and are already trying to see if they can return back.

The referendum has been set for May 22 and the wording will be “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”

A recent poll found that one in five voters were still undecided on same-sex marriage. 62 percent were in favour with 16 percent opposed, 22 percent of voters are still unsure and didn’t know how they would vote on the issue.

Another campaign for the referendum was recently launched, We’re Coming Back is campaigning for an overseas vote for Irish citizens. Kavanagh’s campaign aims to encourage people to go back should they not have any other options.

He said: “I don’t want to feel useless here. I want to play my part in Ireland.”