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Referendum

Taoiseach says investigation needed into alleged vote blocking of black Irish person in referendum

The voter said the incident was ‘shocking and felt like racial profiling’.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said an investigation is needed into allegations that a polling station clerk attempted to deny a black Irish person a vote in last week’s referendums.

The Journal exclusively reported during the week that the voter, whose name was on the register at the polling station, was told that they ‘didn’t look Irish’ and that they would not be allowed to vote.

A spokesperson for the Dublin City Returning Officer Joseph Burke, who is responsible for managing the election in the Dublin City Council area, said that they are opening an investigation into what happened and statements are currently being compiled from all staff involved in the incident.

The black person, who wishes to remain anonymous, told The Journal that they went to a polling station close to their home in Dublin and one of the clerks said they wouldn’t be able to vote.

They said the incident was “shocking and felt like racial profiling”.

Speaking to reporters in Washington DC yesterday, Varadkar said it sounded “appalling”. 

“I think there will need to be an investigation to establish what all the facts are. In a referendum, any Irish citizen is entitled to vote and that’s irrespective of gender or colour or ethnic background or anything else. Anybody who’s a citizen can vote in a referendum,” he said.

The voter told The Journal that they received an apology from Dublin City Council and was told that the clerk will have to be removed. 

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