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Voting in Tipperary to go ahead this Saturday despite death of candidate, government confirms

It had initially appeared that the voting could not go ahead in the constituency this weekend following Marese Skehan’s death.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

Updated Feb 5th 2020, 10:40 PM

TIPPERARY WILL GO to the polls in this Saturday’s general election, the government has confirmed. 

In a statement tonight, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy – whose department oversees elections – confirmed that he had made a special order allowing the election to proceed on the same day as all other constituencies.

Murphy said he had sought advice from the Attorney General and, following consideration, was satisfied that the order was necessary despite the sudden death of candidate Marese Skehan.

Tipperary Returning Officer James Seymour said yesterday that Skehan’s death meant the vote could not be held this weekend when the rest of the public goes to the polls. 

The independent candidate was found dead at her home in Thurles on Monday, and it has originally appeared as if the vote would be delayed in that constituency. 

Legislation states that if a candidate in any constituency dies after the final day for nominations, “the returning officer shall forthwith notify the Minister and the Clerk of the Dáil of the death of the candidate and at the same time, if notice of the poll has been given, he shall countermand the poll”.

In such a scenario, a fresh election must be held in the constituency where the candidate has died.

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However, Murphy said that holding a fresh election in Tipperary would be impossible before the 30-day period since the election was called had elapsed, and confirmed that the vote would now take place this weekend.

He also expressed his sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Marese Skehan on her passing. Her funeral will be held tomorrow.

With reporting from Stephen McDermott.

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Sean Murray

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