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Dublin: 3 °C Wednesday 11 December, 2019

Referendum will save €600k by opening polls for two hours fewer than usual

Polls usually open from 7am but this time around they won’t open until 9am.

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald launching the website for the referendum last week
Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald launching the website for the referendum last week
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE CHILDREN’S RIGHTS REFERENDUM next month will save more than €600,000 – just by reducing the opening hours of the polls by two hours.

While polling stations for elections and referendums typically open from 7am until 10pm to allow people to vote before work, voting in the children’s rights referendum will take place between 9am and 10pm instead because the vote is to be held on a Saturday.

The Department of the Environment confirmed the saving and the changed opening hours this evening and said holding the poll on a Saturday also means that the closure of hundreds of schools will be avoided.

The cost savings of more than €300,000 per hour are expected to come in the main from having to pay less to polling clerks who are employed for the day.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan this evening appealed to returning officers to consider employing unemployed people on polling day and at the counts the following day in each constituency.

“While the efficient conduct of polls and the count is clearly dependent on having sufficiently skilled and experienced people, I would ask all Local Returning Officers to consider employing suitable persons who are unemployed,” the Minister said.

Separately, the Referendum Commission is telling people to check the electoral register to ensure they can vote in the 10 November referendum.

The Commission has launched a Facebook page which will direct people to check whether they are on the register already.

Anyone who is not registered has until 23 October to fill in the relevant forms and return them to their local authority.

Read: Archbishop says children’s rights vote is no ‘magic formula’ >

Read: Sinnott accused of engaging in ‘hysterical hyperbole’ over referendum >

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