Despite a long tradition of saying ‘No’ to any referendum vote, Donegal has voted Yes for marriage equality.
There was a comfortable margin in Donegal North East, where results were consistently running circa 54-46% throughout the day, but in Donegal south west the margin of victory for the yes side was 33 votes.
By Sue Doherty
The final vote in Donegal North East, announced shortly after 4.30pm was 16,040 to 14,492. With a turn-out of 51%, that breaks down as 53% Yes and 47% No.
The yes vote majority in Donegal south west at just 33 votes, is the slimmest in the country.
Sinead Murray of Yes Equality Donegal said: “It’s a beautiful day to be Irish, straight or gay, because the world is watching.”
In Donegal South West, there was a strong Yes vote at the start of the day, with Donegal Electoral Area also returning a c. 54-46% Yes vote in the unofficial tallies.
As votes from Glenties, and then Stranorlar Electoral areas were counted, however, the margin between the sides narrowed considerably.
The unofficial final tally from Glenties Electoral Area at around 2.30pm was 49.43 Yes, 50.57 No, with margin of error of 4-6%, for this tally.
All eyes turned to the Stranorlar Electoral Area, where early boxes indicated a strong No vote. The final outcome from Stranorlar in the unofficial tally was 42% Yes to 58% No.
At that stage, it was too close to call. Numerous sources indicated that the margin between the votes could be as little as 20 on either side.
The official result was announced at 4.30pm, with the Yes vote ahead by a mere 33 votes.
The total valid poll was 31,781, with the final Yes vote 15,907 and No 15,874, a margin of .05%
When the final results were announced, there were tears of joy from Yes campaigners in both count centres.
At the St John Bosco Centre in Donegal Town, there was a short time when it seemed that an appeal for a recount might be lodged by the No campaign, but this did not materialise.
On learning of the result, former Bundoran Mayor Tiernan Brady, who was at the Yes Equality HQ in Dublin, said he “leapt for joy”.