Clare Fine Gael will launch their campaign for a Yes vote in the Marriage Equality Referendum on Thursday May 7th in the Auburn Lodge Hotel in Ennis.
The party in Clare will hold a public meeting the same night to outline why the electorate in Clare should come out and vote in favour of this referendum.
Speakers on the night will include openly gay TD Jerry Buttimer from Cork South Central, Director of GLEN (The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network) Brian Sheehan, Mairead Doyle from Michael Houlihan & Partners, Ennis and Chairman of Clare Young Fine Gael and openly gay teenager Michael Taylor.
Jerry Buttimer was elected as a TD for the Cork South Central Constituency at the 2011 general election. In April 2012, Buttimer came out as gay, the first Fine Gael TD to do so, saying “I am a TD who just happens to be gay – it is just one little composition of the story that is me and I will continue to be the politician I was yesterday.” He is also Chairman of the Fine Gael LGBT group.
Jerry spoke in advance of the meeting saying, “I believe that marriage equality will make Ireland a better fairer place and I am hugely encouraged that Mary McAleese and her husband have lent their support to the campaign.”
The second speaker on the night will be Brian Sheehan from GLEN. Originally from Kilrush, he is the Director of GLEN since 2007. He has been involved with a range of advocacy, community and cultural LGBT organisations over many years. He has a background in the corporate sector in technology and banking, and in the nonprofit sector as a consultant on strategic planning and evaluation. He is a board member of ILGA-Europe, the European-level advocacy organisation on LGBTI issues.
Speaking to the PRO of Clare Fine Gael, Cillian Griffey ahead of the meeting, Brian explained: ‘Clare people have a unique opportunity on May 22nd to share the freedom to marry with their fellow Clare people – their sons and daughters, family members, friends and neighbours – by voting Yes in the marriage equality referendum. Clare people are fair minded, welcoming and confident. By voting Yes, they will be voting to strengthen marriage and protect families.’
The event’s third speaker, Mairéad Doyle is an associate partner in the firm and is a member of the Litigation Group. One of her areas of speciality includes family law. Mairead will explain on the night how the constitution will be changed if the people decided to support the referendum. Mairéad is a member of the Family Lawyers Association and lectures locally in family law. Mairéad is currently the President of the Clare Law Association.
The final speaker will be the current Chairman of Clare Young Fine Gael, Michael Taylor from Kilkee. He will give his personal story and how Clare Young Fine Gael will be playing its part in campaign to gain marital status for same sex couples.