On Saturday, GCN live streamed Mar Ref – 5 Years On – a special online event to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Marriage Equality referendum, and the LGBTQ+ community joined us in celebration.
While we couldn’t gather in person, a very special broadcast on YouTube and Facebook meant we could still mark that marvellous day and unite even while apart.
The amazing Una Mullally hosted with aplomb, interviewing people at the forefront of the battle to achieve our equal rights, while special musical guests performed songs which spoke to those times and the years that followed.
Throughout, messages from the community that they had shared on social media with the hashtag #marrefmemories were broadcast, alongside highly emotional video clips captured at the time.
Una was joined by activists such as Ailbhe Smyth, the Founding Member of Marriage Equality, Grainne Healy, the Co-Director of Yes Equality Campaign, Rory O’Neill AKA Panti Bliss – the Queen of Ireland herself, Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland and Declan Meehan, the Co-Director of the Love Equality campaign.
Standing in Dublin Castle that day I just remember being surrounded by sunshine, community, powerful emotion, equality and love. Grá had won. A day I’ll never forget for so many reasons. #MarRefMemories @GCNmag ❤️????? pic.twitter.com/ECahvcPBPB
— Gareth Hanly (@garhanly) May 23, 2020
Katherine Zappone, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, whose court case to have her marriage to her wife, Ann Louise Gilligan, recognised by the Irish state is noted as an early spark that lit the fire, joined us. She paid tribute to her beloved Ann Louise and to their journey together. Sinead McSweeney and her son Seamus recorded a very special message remembering their husband and dad, Noel Whelan, who was instrumental in the campaign.
So happy we have this wonderful, live celebration hosted by the empathetic and amazing @UnaMullally Thanks to her and @GCNmag for making the 5 year anniversary memorable #MarRefMemories
— Aisling Mc Niffe (@mairepoppins) May 23, 2020
Also shared during the online broadcast were Mar Ref Memories video messages from Tonie Walsh, activist and co-founder of GCN, Olivia Mc Evoy, the former Chair of the National LGBT Federation, and the GALAS Person of the Year – Evgeny Shtorn.
Watching #MarRefMemories 5 Years On @GCNmag .. Well done all.. Heroes.. Remember making these badges and canvassing with @YesEqualityDS … the memories pic.twitter.com/6Ph6gJpm2M
— Colin Eaton (on insta @colineatonarchitect) (@EatonColin) May 23, 2020
The words of Moninne Griffith – Director of Marriage Equality, Laura Harmon and USI, Anna MacCarthy Adams – Member of LGBT+ Noise, and Yes Campaigners Philippa and Helen Ryder really brought home how far we had come as a community.
Bravo @GCNmag, @UnaMullally for providing a seamless stream that documented memories of MarRef and reminded us of the power of solidarity. This is why we need a strong queer press. Donate if you can x.
— Daithí Ó Muineacháin ?️? (@IndefiniteDavid) May 23, 2020
There were also special video messages from some wonderful folk including RTÉ broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan, comedian and actor Aisling Bea, a conversation with Actor Andrew Scott and director John Butler, DJ Annie Mac, and presenter James Kavanagh.
Irish drag legends Dizzy and Paul Ryder also dropped by to share their own memories.
A pleasure to be part of the @GCNmag marriage referendum 5th anniversary stream ❤️🙏 @UnaMullally https://t.co/pwQqCe0Lix
— Villagers (@wearevillagers) May 24, 2020
The event didn’t skimp on musical performances either, with appearances from Conor O’Brien of The Villagers, Wallis Bird, Lesley Roy, Soak, and the dynamic duo Veda and Lady K.
Really enjoying the @GCNmag Mar Ref – 5 years on celebration with @UnaMullally. Great memories and how I luck we are to have had our day since! x pic.twitter.com/dpbSqmotkd
— Padraig Kilkenny (@PadraigKilkenny) May 23, 2020
Mar Ref – 5 Years On was also organised as a fundraiser for GCN as our fundraising streams have been decimated by the pandemic. The event is still available to view on YouTube and you can check out the community’s #marrefmemories across social media. GCN is a registered charity, if you would like to support your national LGBT+ press, please see below for details.
You can support us by texting GCN to 50300 to donate €4 or by visiting our support page here. Text costs €4. GCN will receive a minimum of €3.25 per text. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 076 6805278.
© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
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