The Week on Twitter: The Last Push for SSM & Nicolas Sarkozy Gets Trolled

This week Twitter has been consumed by marriage referendum related trends and tweets, as the last push by campaigners on both sides is underway.


You’ve Gotta See Her #BabyMaria

Since Baby Maria was found abandoned wrapped in a towel, a fleece, a bin bag and a M&S bag in Rathcoole last Friday, she has caught the attention of the Irish public. She was found soon after she was abandoned by pure chance after a man pulled his car over to take a break from driving. Gardaí estimated that she was between 24 and 36 hours old when she was found in the rain. Baby Maria, as she was named by hospital staff, is now in good health and this terrible incident has now turned into somewhat of a good news story. #BabyMaria as been trending throughout the week as the baby’s progress has been reported.

Baby Maria also trended on Twitter yesterday as Gardaí renewed appeals for her mother to make herself known to them. They have made it very clear that the mother is not in trouble and that they want to help her. The public/ Twitter users have been notably non-judgmental and sympathetic towards Baby Maria’s mother and are quite concerned for her well-being as well as the baby’s.


Coming Out in Favour of a Yes Vote #UrsulaHalligan #DanielODonnell

More and more people have been sharing their support for a Yes vote over the last few weeks, but as the referendum comes closer support has come from some unexpected sources. The Adoption Rights Alliance has also called for a Yes vote. While 54-year-old ‘Wee’ Daniel O’Donnell, who is particularly popular with the elderly people of Ireland, has also said he will be voting Yes.

#DanielODonnell was the number one trend on Twitter yesterday afternoon after he announced his support for a yes vote in next week’s Marriage Equality referendum. Speaking to Ray D’Arcy on RTÉ Radio One, he said that he doesn’t believe a Yes vote will affect those who are advocating a No vote in any way, while it would improve the lives of gay people. Many were surprised, but appreciative of his support.

Ursula Halligan, TV3’s Political Editor also spoke out in support of a Yes vote yesterday. Ms Halligan, who only came out publicly yesterday morning in an emotional article for the Irish Times, explained how difficult it was for her to grow up gay as a Catholic girl in 1970s Ireland. She refers back to a diary she kept during this time, which shows how truly depressed she was when keeping her sexuality a secret. She said she can’t believe how quickly the world is changing to support gay marriage. “As a person of faith and a Catholic, I believe a Yes vote is the most Christian thing to do,” she wrote.

She trended on Twitter as many people were touched by her experiences and her honesty. She said that she has been overwhelmed by the positive reaction to her announcement on TV3.


Sarkozy’s Faux Pas #NSDirect

Yesterday, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy invited the electorate to ask him questions by using #MSDirect in their tweets. This idea, which has become extremely popular among pop stars and celebrities, may not be a good move for politicians to make. Many voters used the opportunity to make fun of the politician by tweeting rude, stupid or mocking comments.

Some comments asked if he preferred cats or dogs, iPhone or Android and briefs or boxers, while others just asked about claims of corruption against him.

[#NSDirect You are under investigation for “active corruption” and “influence peddling”, and you want to the head of the Republicans: Where is the respect?]

Even his son, Louis, started taking the piss by asking for a bigger television for his room. Nicolas Sarkozy replied, agreeing he could have a bigger TV if he gave up computer games.

This may be a lesson learned for other politicians who try to act like popular celebrities. Many French people are now pointing out that there is a huge gap between the way that Nicolas Sarkozy is portrayed in the media and the way he is actually seen by many of the electorate.


The Last Drive For A Yes Vote #MotorVoter

Finally, in preparation for next Friday’s referendum the USI began to make #MotorVoter trend on Twitter. The aim of this hash tag is to encourage people to share on Twitter how they are planning to get to the polling station next week. This is to make sure students have a plan to get there, but also to encourage car sharing, so those who might need a lift can get one from a friend. The USI hopes this Twitter campaign will make sure that all the students who can vote, will vote.

As well as this car sharing campaign, taxi app Hailo are also offering voters free lifts to the polling stations next Friday, so there really is no excuse to not vote.

Photo: Remi Jouan via Wikimedia