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storm ciara

'Offer a lift': Calls for people to mind their older neighbours as storm due on voting day

Met Éireann has issued status yellow wind and rainfall warnings for Ireland on Saturday, the day of the general election.

ACTIVE RETIREMENT IRELAND is encouraging the public to help their older neighbours get to their local polling station on Saturday if adverse weather conditions prevent them travelling alone.

With the arrival of Storm Ciara this weekend, Age Action has also asked people to check in on older people living in their area in the event of bad weather.

Met Éireann has issued status yellow wind and rainfall warnings for Ireland on Saturday, the day of the general election, as Storm Ciara brings heavy rain and strong winds, as well as an increased risk of flooding in coastal areas.

There are no country-wide measures in place to assist voters with mobility issues to travel to their local polling station on Saturday. Local councils do not organise transport, but volunteer groups or individual election candidates and campaign groups may offer lifts.

Maureen Kavanagh, CEO of Active Retirement Ireland, said: “We will not be organising transport services for their members, but we are of course encouraging our members to vote, and we encourage them to use public transport or the Local Link bus services to get to the polling station where possible.” 

She said Active Retirement encouraged their members to “mind each other”, and if they are driving to the polling station to offer lifts to friends or neighbours. 

She also asked the public to check in on their elderly neighbours with the onset of bad weather. 

Celine Clarke, head of advocacy and communications for Age Action, said that while the charity does not organise transport for elderly people on voting days, “people should check in on their elderly neighbours in the case of bad weather and make sure they have everything they need, especially heat”. 

Met Éireann has forecast southernly winds will that will strengthen throughout Saturday, with gusts of up to 110 kilometres per hour. Heavy rain is also expected, with the west of Ireland to receive the highest level of rainfall.

On Sunday, there will be strong winds across the country with a risk of damaging gusts, and another bout of heavy rain on this day which will clear to wintry showers. 

This election marks the first time that voting will take place on a Saturday since 1918. Polling stations will open at 7am and will close at 10pm. 

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