Veteran RTÉ correspondent Charlie Bird says that last year’s Yes vote in the Irish marriage equality referendum has created an unstoppable momentum for change in Northern Ireland.

RTÉ’s former Chief News Correspondent was speaking in advance of the Belfast launch of his book A Day in May: Real Lives, True Stories based on last year’s remarkable equal marriage referendum.

On 23 May 2015 the people of the Republic of Ireland made history by becoming the first nation in the world to introduce marriage equality by popular vote. Bird says he believes that the successful Yes campaign in the Republic has given new dynamism to the equal marriage campaign in Northern Ireland.

“The Yes Equality campaign generated an amazing sense of positivity that spilled across the border and has given tremendous new energy to the marriage equality campaign in Northern Ireland.

“Last summer’s huge campaign march in Belfast and opinion poll after opinion poll tell me that there is now an unstoppable momentum behind the introduction of equal marriage in Northern Ireland. It’s not a matter of ‘if’, it’s now a matter of ‘when’. Of course, I and all those involved in the campaign in the Republic sincerely hope that it will be sooner rather than later, so that same-sex couples in Northern Ireland will be able to enjoy the same rights as everywhere else on these islands.”

Charlie Bird, inspired by the ‘Yes Equality’ campaign, travelled across Ireland to meet some of the people most deeply affected by the marriage equality referendum result. Their stories bring to life the reality of their persecution and the joy found through last’s year’s Yes vote. A Day in May is a poignant record of their lives – of the pain, terror, confusion, the love and laughter – beautifully captured in a series of one-to-one interviews by Charlie Bird.

“Hearing these stories first hand brought to life the real meaning of the Yes vote,” said Charlie Bird,

“These are human lives, changed forever by the votes of their neighbours—votes that said, we believe in your love and your rights”.

The Belfast launch of A Day in May: Real Lives, True Stories  by Charlie Bird (published by Merrion Press) takes places Tuesday 17 May, 5:30pm at Queen’s Film Theatre, 20 University Square, Belfast.

Speakers include Charlie Bird, author and broadcaster, Brian Sheehan, Co-director of the successful YES Equality campaign, Tracey McDowell, Here NI (lesbian & bisexual woman support organisation) – part of Love Equality campaign, Patrick Corrigan, NI director of Amnesty International – part of Love Equality campaign.

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