‘Town short of polling sta­tions’

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Rob McNa­mara

Vot­ers in Ballincol­lig are be­ing dis­cour­aged by the lack of polling sta­tions on the western side of the town, a lo­cal coun­cil­lor claims.

Derry Canty has urged the De­part­ment of Hous­ing, which is re­spon­si­ble for con­duct­ing elec­tions, to es­tab­lish a sec­ond polling sta­tion lo­cally to avoid hav­ing vot­ers travel across the town to ex­er­cise their fran­chise.

For the re­cent pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and abor­tion ref­er­en­dum, polling sta­tions were avail­able at the girls’ na­tional school (Scoil Mhuire) and boys’ na­tional school (Scoil Eoin), Scoil Barra and Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin. Mr Canty said all the schools are sit­u­ated to the east­ern side of the town, with none to­ward the In­nis­carra side.

Ballincol­lig will be­come part of the city, un­der the 2019 bound­ary ex­ten­sion, fol­low­ing May’s lo­cal elec­tions.

“I know of one young man who was vot­ing for the first time, from Clas­sis Lake, and had to get a bus up to the main street and then walk from there. He missed the bus on the way back and had to walk all the way home,” said Cllr Canty. “It’s dis­cour­ag­ing peo­ple from vot­ing, be­cause if you have no mode of trans­port, the chances of you mak­ing the ef­fort to travel all the way down are min­i­mal.

“The de­part­ment is go­ing to have to look at this, as the lo­cal elec­tions are com­ing up in May and we will also have Dáil elec­tions in the not-tood­is­tant fu­ture. For the lo­cal elec­tions, we are vot­ing as a city ward, but, for the gen­eral elec­tions, we will still be vot­ing as part of the Cork North­West ward. That also needs to be ad­dressed,” he said.

“There was a low turnout in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and I be­lieve that will con­tinue, un­less it’s made eas­ier for peo­ple to vote.

“Older and young peo­ple are all af­fected by this,” he added.

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