“It was just after the Pantigate affair last year […] Essentially a few of us wanted to just do something. So, we sat down and talked about what the best thing would be, and we came up with the idea of Vote With Us.”
The ‘we’ that Eoin Wilson refers to is that of his two friends, Dónal Mulligan and Ewan Kelly, and himself. The socially responsible and innovative trio’s idea encourages people to create a video with a simple but effective format; say your name, that you’ll be voting Yes in the upcoming marriage equality referendum, and why.
Eoin notes that once people heard of the idea, they jumped forward enthusiastically to get involved – the proof of which now lies in the scores of videos already featured on votewithus.org. Still, though, Eoin admits that such a community-based campaign wouldn’t have worked without a little help from their friends.
“This was a first for us. We were relying a lot on our friends who had the expertise. They gave their time, their energy, they gave their ideas which was really fantastic. So, we’ve been really supported the whole way through this. The response that people have had to it has been fantastic.
Eoin also notes that while the support from his friends has helped them, some experiences were learning curves also. The team tried to film a few participants at the launch of a film festival, but because the background noise was too loud, the videos were unusable. Still, Eoin explains that it taught the team about what was needed to make the right video.
“…[What] hit home was that debate at a national level can really be held hostage by the same commentators, time and time again […] We knew there was a depth of feeling out there that had to be tapped into. We really wanted to give a forum to people to voice their heartfelt, genuine, rational and emotional beliefs for voting yes in May. That’s what Vote With Us is for.”
It’s for that very reason that the campaign has become instantly popular, both at home and with the Irish diaspora, even those who cannot come home to vote. Eoin recalls one of the first videos the team received since their launch on March 2: An Irish woman living in Copenhagen, pleading with her compatriots back home to make the right move.
“It was just a very heartfelt message,” Eoin explains, “pleading to the Irish people to vote, so she can bring her Canadian partner home to Ireland and live as a married couple. It was really quite touching. She obviously just saw the campaign and instantly a lightbulb went off for her, and we were really thrilled with it.”
To check out the uploaded videos, or to find out more about uploading your own to the conversation, visit www.votewithus.org.