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With Brexit seemingly a permanent fixture on every TV channel and newspaper, gender and race disparity as prominent as ever and climate change on everyone's minds; the European Union elections have never been more important.

To coincide with the upcoming election, the EU has launched the 'This Time I'm Voting' campaign to encourage citizens to vote this time around.

Member states nominate direct candidates for the European Parliament through proportional representation. but with numerous EU parliamentarians represented on Twitter, it's hugely convenient to have debates online and exhange views.

The #ThisTimeImVoting campaign explains EU issues and elaborates on the ways in which every vote affects the living conditions of EU citizens.

This #EUelections2019 campaign is being introduced in 25 relevant languages to reach as many people as possible.

Factually-correct information is available on Twitter for first-time voters and EU election experts alike.

A large aspect of the public election conversation is happening via Twitter, which is why the site is showing support by introducing a special emoji for the #ThisTimeImVoting campaign.

The elections for local and EU seats as well as the divorce referendum take place on May 24, make sure you're there.

Every vote counts, so don't forget to make your mark on Europe. 

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NOW TV has revealed the Irish public's faves for this Sunday's Academy Awards, and some of them just might surprise you.

While many are speculating that Green Book or Bohemian Rhapsody will take the gong, Ireland's top choice for the Best Picture Award is A Star Is Born, featuring Lady Gaga and directed by and starring Bradley Cooper.

Black Panther is also a dark horse in the category, being the first superhero movie to ever be nominated for the coveted prize.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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In terms of Irish talent, 44 percent of the nation's participants believe that Saoirse Ronan was robbed of a Best Actress Oscar nod (which would be her FOURTH nomination) for Mary, Queen of Scots.

The starred in the film alongside Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth, and many believe her amazing performance deserved the nomination. Her previous category nods include roles in Brooklyn, Lady Bird and Atonement.

20 percent of survery participants said that they will be following the results and outcome on social media, and we suspect many of us will be gaggin' to see the gorgeous couture being donned.

Timothée Chalamet is another reason to watch…Just saying…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Unsurprisingly, Ireland's choice for Oscar host is the white wine-sipping legend that is Graham Norton. The acerbic wit would be pure gas at the Hollywood event, if his hilarious Eurovision content is anything to go by.

The public voted 64 percent in his favour as host. NOW TV also found that 47 percent of Irish people will be watching the 91st Academy Awards on social media, a highlights reel or the news. 

25 percent of Irish people will wait until the next morning to get the Oscars gossip, rather than the 20 percent who plan to keep updated as the ceremony happens.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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For any Oscars enthusiasts, watching the Academy Awards is easier than ever. NOW TV also calculated Ireland's favourite or most memorable Oscar moments, and they're still scandalous as ever.

The La La Land Best Picture error in 2017 topped the poll as the most memorable Oscar moment, with more than one-third of respondents recalling the horrendous moment that the film was called out as Best Film by MISTAKE, stealing Moonlight's thunder.

Ellen DeGeneres' star-studded selfie was next in line, taking 22 percent of the Irish public's vote.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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In terms of red carpet fashion highlights, 26 percent of participants chose Cher's 1986 bare stomach look with a feathered headpiece as the biggest fashion fail. Bjork's 2001 swan dress with egg laying motion was also a high contender in the faux pas category.

Sacha Baron Cohen appearing as Admiral General Aladeen took 21 percent of the fashion fail vote, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s braless goth look from 2002 had 19 percent of the vote.

Kevin Hart stepped down as Academy Awards host in January after homophobic tweets were revealed and he failed to apologise this year for them, leaving the 2019 Oscars hostless. It's a shame Graham Norton wasn't asked…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Ellen DeGeneres topped the polls as the most favourable Oscar's host, taking 29 percent of the participants' favourite vote, and Whoopi Goldberg came second with 20 percent. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin had 14 percent of the vote as a comedic duo.

31 percent of Irish people want A Star Is Born to sweep the ceremony, and hope for Gaga to win Best Actress (39 percent) and Bradley Cooper as Best Actor (32 percent). They do have outrageously great chemistry… and he should have gotten the Best Director nod too. I stand by that,

NOW TV have given us the goss, and you can watch the ceremony through their website here.

Feature image: @hausofcrybaby/Instagram

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It's not news that Demi Lovato has had a ridiculously tough year, following her opioid overdose and subsequent trip to rehab in the past six months. 

After taking time away from the spotlight, the 26-year-old singer has finally returned to the 'gram for an important cause: to encourage her fans to vote in the US mid-term elections.

She posted this today from her polling place:

"I am so grateful to be home in time to vote! One vote can make a difference, so make sure your voice is heard!"

Lovato isn't the only celebrity to display their political standpoints and show their stance, but Demi's is all the more valuable for the struggle she is currently enduring following 90 days of sobriety.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The former child star was admitted to a rehabilitation facility on July 24 after suffering an opioid overdose in her Hollywood Hills mansion, currently on sale for €8.995 million.

She stayed in Beverley Hills hospital for almost two weeks before seeking in-patient treatment for her addiction, which she has suffered with throughout her life, alongside mental illness and eating disorders.

The star entered a treatment facility in 2010 for bipolar disorder, self-harm, addiction and bulimia, but relapsed after leaving the centre. Following this, she entered a sober living facility for a year, and celebrated six years of sobriety in March.

Her July overdose shocked fans and the famous alike. It followed the release of her semi-autobiographical single, Sober in June.

Her previous Instagram post is a selfie from July 23, the day before entering rehab, without a caption. She appears to have been dispelling fan fears that her life had ended as a result of the overdose:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The singer thanked her friends and family for their support during her troubles, and has been silent ever since. Today, she has used her platform to encourage a higher voter turnout.

Her mother, Dianna De La Garza,  has recently spoken out about her daughter's advancement: “Yes, she has 90 days and I couldn’t be more thankful or more proud of her because addiction being a disease, it’s work."

"She’s getting the help she needs. And that, in itself, encourages me about her future and about the future of our family.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The 26-year-old singer was spotted by paparazzi out for the first time in Los Angeles last weekend, leading the public to believe that she has finished her stint at an addiction facility.

She went out to dinner with friend and designer Henry Levy, TMZ reported.

Her mother has been especially vocal about how grateful their family is that Demi is alive:

“I just feel like the reason she’s alive today is because of the millions of prayers that went up that day, when everybody found out what was happening,” she said.

“I don’t think she would be here if it hadn’t been for those prayers. I couldn’t have asked for a better team of people to save her life.”

Feature Image: Huffington Post

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President Michael D Higgins has said in a statement that he will run for a second term in the Áras.

Previously, the figure head had said on the night of his election in 2011 that he would not seek another term in the position.

However, in recent years he has changed his mind and it was widely speculated that he would seek re-election.

Last autumn, the president said he would set out his intentions by September 2018, on seeking a second-term.

Nevertheless in recent weeks, he signalled that he would make his position known this month. 

A statement issued today stated:

“President Michael D. Higgins wishes to confirm that he will be offering himself as an independent candidate, under Article 12.4.4 of Bunreacht Na hÉireann, when the Ministerial Order for a Presidential Election is made later in the year.

“The Government has been informed of this decision.

“The President’s programme of official duties and engagements continues.”

Would you re-elect Michael D Higgins? 

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The National Youth Council (NYCI) of Ireland has welcomed the unprecedented surge of voter registration ahead of the referendum of May 25. 

Returns received by NYCI indicate that up to 125,000 people were added to the supplementary electoral register between February and the May 8 deadline. 

The figures show a potential increase over of 90 per cent when compared to the voter registration figures for 2015's marriage equality referendum. 

James Doorley, NYCI Deputy Director explained: “For example the numbers registering in Meath (123 per cent), Kerry, (112 per cent), South Dublin (103 per cent) and Westmeath (103 per cent) are up over 100 per cent on 2015. Other counties such as Galway, (97 per cent)  Tipperary, (92 per cent), Kilkenny (86 per cent) are also recording a much increased level of registration.

"Leitrim stands out as a result of an 213% increase in voters included in the supplementary register with 670 additional voters in 2018 compared to 214 in 2015." 

Earlier this year, NYCI expressed concerns that 22 per cent of young people were not registered to vote, however, Mr. Doorley praised the work of a number of youth organisations that helped drive the late surge in registration. 

 “We know that a lot of work was done by a range of organisations in late 2017 and many thousands of eligible voters were added to the electoral register.

"It is really heartening that so many young people responded to the call by NYCI and others and took the opportunity to register at events organised by the USI, ISSU, SpunOut, individual student unions, youth organisations and community groups in recent weeks to ensure they had the right to vote in the upcoming referendum.” 

The organisation is confident that this high level of youth registration will translate into a high level of youth voters and is providing information for young or first-time voters who may have questions following the registration process and in advance of May 25, at www.youth.ie/vote

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Next Friday, the people of Ireland will take to the polls to vote on whether on not to allow the government to legislate for the legal termination of pregnancy. 

In order to have their say, those eligible to vote will need to visit their assigned polling stations between the hours of 7am and 10pm. 

And in an effort to make sure that as many people as possible make it on the day, Lynk Taxis are offering voters free local lifts.

The service will be available between 9am and 2pm on May 25 using the discount code 'LynkToVote'. 

The promotion allows for a free local journey up to the value of €10. If the cost of the taxi exceeds this amount, €10 will be deducted from the total fee. 

Noel Ebbs, CEO of Lynk Taxis says “As a company we have a great respect for our local customers and we want to be sure they use their right to vote in this upcoming, important referendum and make it as easy as possible for them to get to their polling station.

“If our promotion encourages even one person to go out and use their vote, we’ll be pleased. We hope lots of users avail of the #LynkToVote discount code and use their valuable votes on May 25th.”

No excuses, people! Make sure you have your say on May 25. 

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With less than a week to go until polling stations open on May 25, two opinion polls suggest the 'Yes' side still leads the way. 

Commissioned by the Sunday Times, a poll of 935 people between May 3 and 15 showed a five point increase for those in favour of repealing the Eight Amendment in urban areas. 

A 12 point increase in Dublin means that 67 per cent of voters in the capital plan to vote yes, while 54 per cent of voters in the rest of Leinster plan to do the same.

Meanwhile, a Sunday Business Post poll of a thousand adults between May 10 and 16 shows the 'Yes' side up three points to 56 per cent, while the 'No' side is up one to 27 per cent. 

It seems however that the figures shifted somewhat when people were asked what way they thought their friends would vote. 

Political Editor Michael Brennan, explained:  "Interestingly, Red C – our polling company – has done an analysis asking people how do they think their neighbours or their friends [will vote] and [from] listening to the campaign, what they think the outcome will be… we get a much tighter vote.

"The result from that type of polling – known as the 'wisdom of crowds' – is 56% Yes, 44% No."

The Eighth Amendment referendum will be held on Friday May 25th.

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A new poll published in today's Sunday Independent shows majority support for a 'Yes' vote on May 25, though the gap is narrowing. 

Figures show that 45 per cent of respondents say they intend to vote 'Yes' and 34 per cent say they will vote no. 

18 per cent of those survey were still undecided, while 4 per cent did not have an opinion. 

The results were welcomed by Together For Yes who say poll shows consistent support for a Yes vote on the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment. 

Campaign Co-Director Ailbhe Smyth said: “We note today’s referendum poll which shows a consistent pattern of support for a Yes vote on May 25th. It demonstrates that the Yes campaign’s message of care and compassion for women in Ireland is hitting home with people across the country.

"In particular we note the strong support among young women, whose future healthcare will be directly affected by the referendum result." 

However, she did acknowledge the 18 per cent of voters who are yet to make up their mind. 

“However, Together For Yes knows that each and every vote will matter over the next 19 days, and we recognise the large number of undecideds who have yet to make up their mind.

“That is why our 'Get Together For Yes’ conversations tour being launched today in Athlone is an important opportunity to speak directly to voters and encourage people to start the discussion with friends and family about the harms of the 8th Amendment.

“The poll shows a growing appetite among Irish people to ensure that abortion in Ireland is safe and regulated. People are well aware that we already have abortion in Ireland, and that it is a reality.

"Voting Yes will regulate it, make it safer and ensure we provide care to women in Ireland who need it."

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With the abortion referendum fast approaching, people who have not yet joined the electorate are being urged to do so before the May 8 deadline. 

Yesterday it emerged that a shocking 150,000 young people are not yet registered to vote, putting themselves at risk of not being able to use their voice on May 25. 

Anyone who would like to register is invited to attend a huge voting drive at Trinity College Dublin today. 

Forms will be printed out and members of An Garda Síochána will be present to sign the forms on the spot. 

You don't have to be student to attend, just make sure to bring ID and proof of address and the completed forms will then be posted on your behalf. 

The drive will take place at the following locations:

  • TCD Arts Block: 1-2.30pm

  • TCD Hamilton Building: 2.30-4pm

  • DIT Aungier St: 10am-3pm

  • DIT Bolton St: 12-4pm 

Those unsure whether they're registered or not are being advised to Check the Register.

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It's been reported that up to 150,000 young people are not registered to vote in next month's Referendum on the Eighth Amendment. 

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, James Doorely from the National Youth Council revealed how a RED C Poll carried out last year found that 22 per cent of people aged between 18 and 29 were not on the register. 

He encouraged anyone who has not yet signed up, or anyone who is unsure of their status to log onto checktheregister.ie ahead of the ballot. 

If you are not yet registered, you have until May 8 to do so and the relevant forms can be downloaded from the website. 

"There is a form called an RSA2 form. You need to fill that out and bring it to your local garda station with identification, and they will need to sign and stamp that form," Mr Doorely said.

"Once that's done, you just need to post it back to your local city or county council. But it has to be done by Tuesday 8 May, so with the bank holiday next Monday, we really are encouraging people not to leave it till the last minute."

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By Colleen Brady

It’s only a matter of weeks before Ireland makes a decision on whether or not the 8th Amendment will be repealed.

The 8th amendment in the Irish constitution at the moment states that the mother and unborn have equal rights.

However, repealing the 8th amendment will mean Women in Ireland will be allowed have abortions in this country without it being a criminal offence.

For some, the 8th amendment protects the unborn but for others it’s a restriction which puts the rights of a woman against the right to life of the unborn.

It’s an issue of contention and a matter of great confusion for many. The 8th amendment was introduced in 1983. At this time abortion was illegal in Ireland but the amendment engraved it into national policy.

According to a 2016 report from the UK Department of Health, 3,265 Irish women travelled to the UK seeking abortions.

To repeal or not? The problem with the debate is that both sides obviously feel so passionately about it that those in the middle, who aren’t sure how they feel are not given an opportunity to talk.

What if you are unsure, which is the case of a large number of people in Ireland?

At the minute I feel as though there is no unbiased information readily available for the public. From where I am looking, the information available to people is either swayed one way or another.

 

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The people delivering information about the 8th are largely saying what you are if you are not voting a specific way instead of providing accurate information to all age groups and all sexes.

Information which displays the two sides fairly, what will happen if there is a change in our constitution and what this means against what will happen if we don’t change the constitution. It’s as simple as that really.

There have been no information brochures with both sides of the debate displayed posted in letterboxes and there is an element of fear mongering from both sides of the campaign.

Young people, in particular, are afraid to vote on the issue for fear of what they will be called or labelled if they vote one way or another on the divisive issue. Of course, emotion sways opinion and the 8th amendment is an emotive subject however, we will not get the voting turn out we want by essentially scaring people into decisions, which is the way I and many other young people feel.

What the state needs to do is make information available for people, so they can understand both sides and form a decision based on unbiased and accurate information and not just statistics or visual posters.

 

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If people understand what is going on and the importance of the issue, they will then turn out to vote.

At the minute a lot of young people aren’t registering to vote because they feel it has “nothing to do with them” or they are simply unsure and in middle ground.

At the end of the day both sides have strong arguments and campaigners, but it is the people in the middle who can’t make a decision at the minute because of the limited information, who are most important.

 

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Right now, I feel like it is a good thing even if you are in the middle of the great debate or unsure where you stand on repealing the 8th or supporting it.

This means you are questioning and thinking about it and not simply accepting what either side are saying.

This referendum will continue to make headlines for a long time but information needs to be there for people and not just through shocking figures or emotive posters. People need real information written in a subjective manner to make the decision on something so important.

The repeal campaign should be congratulated for advancing the debate and giving Irish people an opportunity to make a decision in this much needed referendum, no matter what the outcome.

If nothing else, lets be open to hearing both sides and presenting a fair platform for the debate. After all, the large undecided middle ground will be crucial and key to the outcome.

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Today, the Together for Yes campaign launched a Register4Yes registration drive.

The drive aims to encourage people to make sure they are registered to vote ahead of the deadline on May 8, to vote in the referemdumto repeal the 8th Amendment on May 25th. 

There are 122,000 young people who have turned 18 since the last general election who are eligible to vote.

 

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Overall, 466,000 young people between the ages of 18-25 are currently eligible to vote in Ireland if they are registered.

Any person who turns 18 before the referendum on May 25 is also eligible to register in advance of the deadline.

'This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to vote for a more compassionate and caring society,' Laura Harmon, Together for Yes Mobilisation Team Lead said.

 

A post shared by Together for Yes (@together4yes) on

'Nobody under the age of 50 has had a chance to vote on this issue.'

'We are encouraging everyone, especially young people and those who have changed address recently, to make sure they are on the Supplement to the Register of Electors before the deadline of May 8 so that they can vote Yes on May 25.'

Annie Hoey, Together for Yes Canvassing Coordinator said: ‘'Young people have a critical part to play in this historic referendum and Together for Yes is urging them to make sure they are registered to vote so they can vote Yes.'

Get on to www.checktheregister.ie or ring your local authority and confirm if you are registered to vote. 

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