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Islanders will be able to vote on the same day as the rest of the country

Fianna Fáil argues that it is no longer necessary for those living on the islands to vote early.

Electoral officer, Hugh O'Donnell with Garda Brendan McCann, carry the ballot box, for the Lisbon Treaty voting, on Inishfree Island off the coast of Co Donegal.
Electoral officer, Hugh O'Donnell with Garda Brendan McCann, carry the ballot box, for the Lisbon Treaty voting, on Inishfree Island off the coast of Co Donegal.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

ISLAND DWELLERS TRADITIONALLY vote ahead of the rest of the country to prevent bad weather delaying ballot boxes being transferred to count centres.

However, Fianna Fáil’s Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2014, being debated in the Dáil tonight plans to change all that.

The bill, initiated by Éamon Ó Cuív, aims to allow islanders to vote during elections on the same day as the rest of the country.

Vote early

The party argues that it is no longer necessary for those living on the islands to vote early, due to the improvements in technology.

It’s understood the government will not oppose the bill this evening.

IRELAND LISBON TREATY Source: AP/Press Association Images

In this year’s general election, there were 2,133 eligible voters on the Donegal, Mayo and Galway islands.

The electorate included 516 people on Arranmore, 25 on Gola, 63 on Inishbofin (Donegal), four on Inishfree, 144 on Tory Island, 121 on Clare Island, 29 on Inishbiggle, 50 on Inishturk, 654 on Inishmore, 151 on Inishmaan, 200 on Inisheer and 176 on Inishbofin (Galway).

During elections, Air Corps helicopters pick up the boxes full of votes and ferry them to the mainland after voting.

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