According to the latest poll 71 percent of the Irish public support the move to introduce gay marriage in Ireland, with just 17 percent voting “no”, 9 percent with “no opinion” and 3 percent refusing to respond.

If those who refused to vote are excluded this brings the “yes” figure to 81 percent.

The latest poll by the Irish Times and Ispos MRBI shows a marked increase from October which showed a 76 percent vote in support of gay marriage. In November 2012 the margin was closer again with 64 percent saying they would vote “yes” and 36 percent “no.”

The results of the poll were broken down by class and this showed that middle class voters were more likely to support gay marriage than working class. Farmers were significantly less enthusiastic than most with just 46 percent voting “yes.” The survey also found that women were far more likely to be in support of gay marriage.

The evidence of Ireland’s growing support for gay marriage comes the week after the Irish bishops released a 16-page pastoral statement condemning gay marriage.

The booklet, “The Meaning of Marriage,” launched by The Irish Catholic Bishops Conference, will be distributed to more than 1,300 parishes across the country. It claims that the legalization of gay marriage would be a “grave injustice.”

It seems that they’re views do not reflect the Irish people’s.

Pro-gay marriage campaigns have also sprung up in the run up to the referendum which is expected to take place in spring 2015.

Colin Farrell has spoken out in support of gay marriage and penned a heartfelt open letter about his own brother’s experiences as a gay man in Ireland.

He wrote, “This for me is all about the heart, not the gender. If it’s about the idea of love between consenting adults, then this referendum is as much a heterosexual issue as it is a gay issue.”

Farrell closes out his letter with an impassioned call to action to the people of Ireland:

“How often do we get to make history in our lives? Not just personal history. Familial. Social. Communal. Global. The world will be watching. We will lead by example. Let’s lead toward light.”

Irish Catholic Bishops have the wrong end of the stick when it comes to the Irish people’s views on life.Getty Images/iStockphoto