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Campaigners hail gay marriage vote as a 'unifying day'

Campaigners have hailed Ireland's gay marriage vote as a "unifying day" which "sends a strong message to young people across Ireland that they are valued equally."

Senator David Norris was welcomed by Andrew Hyland of YES Equality when he turned up at a count Credit: PA

Alex White, director of elections in the Yes campaign for the Labour Party said: "This has been a real unifying day for all the country and the result shows that.

"Today does not change Ireland. Today confirms a change that has taken place in Ireland over the last 30-35 years."

Commenting on early speculation that the yes campaign had won the vote Mary Cunningham, director of the National Youth Council of Ireland, said the results "sent a strong message".

She said: "This result sends a strong message to young people across Ireland that they are valued equally; and that we want to promote respect and eliminate homophobia."


Equality Minister calls same-sex marriage vote 'result'

Ireland's Equality Minister Aodhan O Riordain claims that the referendum on gay marriage has been won by the yes voters today.

Yes campaigners are still out in force at the counts Credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

O Riordain told Reuters: "I think it's won.

"The numbers of people who turned out to vote is unprecedented. This has really touched a nerve in Ireland today."

Official results are due later today.

Flood of bets for Eurovision Song Contest favourites

Bookmaker Coral says it has seen a flood of bets for 2015 Eurovision Song Contest favourites Sweden's Mans Zelmerlow ahead of this evening's final in Vienna.

Flood of bets for Eurovision Song Contest favourites. Credit: PA

The five-time winners have been cut into 6-4 (from 13-8) to come out on top this evening.

Russia are second best in the outright betting at 10-3, while Italy can be backed at 7-2.The United Kingdom are 40-1 with Coral to cause an upset in the final. Electro Velvet are the 7-4 favourites to finish last, while they are 10-1 to fail to pick up a point following their performance.

Medvedev: Russia prepared to get tough on Ukraine debts

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview broadcast by Russian TV that it would adopt a tough position if Ukraine decided not to pay off debts owed by its previous government,

PM Dmitry Medvedev (right) with defence minister Sergei Shoigu, president Vladimir Putin. Credit: PA

"If it is actually formulated in this way this would undoubtedly be a default of Ukraine ... We would adopt as tough a position as possible in this case and defend our national interests," Medvedev told the Vesti on Saturday programme on state TV channel Rossiya.

Medvedev also said his government had an interest in seeing a predictable rate for the rouble, but he defended the central bank's policy of allowing the rouble to float, saying it was "optimal" to achieve a balance in the forex market between supply and demand.


Results being fed on Ireland's same-sex marriage vote

Results from the Republic's 43 constituencies will be fed back to the count headquarters in Dublin Castle, where a pattern is expected to emerge from the smaller regions and faster counts around lunchtime.

Results being fed on Ireland's same-sex marriage vote. Credit: PA

It is only 22 years since Ireland decriminalised homosexuality. Voters were asked one simple, specific question on whether to amend Article 41 of the 1937 Constitution by adding a new clause to a section titled The Family.

It asked them to support or reject a change to the 78-year-old document which reads: "Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex." It does not suggest any change to the definition of the family or remove any outdated references in the section, including those that state a woman's place is at home.

Counting under way in same-sex marriage ballot

Counting is under way in a landmark ballot in Ireland which could see it become the first country in the world to bring in gay marriage by popular vote.

Counting under way in same-sex marriage ballot. Credit: PA

A high turnout is expected, which supporters of the reform believe is a boost for them, with estimates and reports from individual constituencies putting the poll percentage somewhere in the 60s. A result is expected sometime in the afternoon but returning officers have warned it is dependent on how close the ballot is.

Cooper: Labour 'have to face some hard truths'

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has admitted her party needs to "face some hard truths" if they want to become electable in future.

Yvette Cooper, Labour's shadow home secretary Credit: PA Wire

Writing in a blog for The Huffington Post, Cooper said: "Bluntly, not enough people trusted us with their future. Not enough people were convinced we could do the job.

"The mountain we now have to climb is high."

The Labour leadership contender also warned her party against swinging too far to the left or right in its bid to win back voters stating "that's no good for Labour, for Britain or for those who depend on progressive change. We can't fight and win by remaining a narrow party, we have to reach out."

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