Ireland’s Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Enda Kenny says he will be actively campaigning in favour of the country’s referendum on equal marriage – as an unnamed minister from his Fine Gael party is quoted as saying “we have had enough of this s**t.”
The Irish Independent reports that the outburst was over the prospect of Ireland staging another referendum on a key social issue.
“We have had enough of this sh**,” said the unnamed Fine Gael minister. “We are not going again. We did the abortion, we are not f****** doing this one. We got away with the abortion one, but this referendum is guaranteed to be defeated,” the minister added.
The comments highlight renewed tensions over equal marriage in Enda Kenny’s party.
Mr Kenny has been the leader of Fine Gael since 2002 and became Taoiseach in May 2011. The centre-right party is in coalition with Ireland’s Labour Party, which is led by Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Eamon Gilmore.
Mr Gilmore has described equal marriage as the single biggest civil rights issue in Ireland.
But in comments on Sunday, Mr Kenny said he was more concerned by Ireland’s economic recovery.
“I wouldn’t have the same opinion as the Tánaiste,” Mr Kenny said. “Don’t get me wrong – I support it and I’ll canvass for it when it comes. But for me, the single biggest issue is our jobs and employment.”
In November, the Irish Government formally agreed to hold a referendum on equal marriage in 2015. A poll published after the announcement showed 76% of Irish voters support the measure.
Despite the favourable polls, political commentators believe the final result could be a lot closer, especially if anti-equal marriage opponents successfully use the influential platform of Ireland’s Catholic Church to propel their message.
Several public votes on a range of constitutional matters took place in October. In the referendum to abolish Ireland’s Upper House in its Parliament (Seanad) and establish a new Court of Appeal turnout was just 39%.
Turnout may be a key factor in the 2015 equal marriage referendum.