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Tipperary to postpone election vote following death of independent candidate

The home help coordinator was found dead in Thurles eariler today.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

VOTING FOR THIS year’s general election will not go ahead in Tipperary on Saturday following the death of candidate Marese Skehan.

The independent candidate was found dead in her home in Thurles earlier today, but no details of her passing have been released at this time.

She had been due to attend an open meeting with the candidates in the Anner Hotel in Thurles this evening alongside others on the county’s ballot paper.

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.

The county’s returning officer confirmed to TheJournal.ie that he had notified Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy – whose department oversees the election – of his intention to postpone voting there due to Marese’s death.

He also said that surviving nominees would remain on the ballot when the election takes place, which is expected to happen within the next two weeks.

A home help coordinator, Skehan was a member of a well-known family from Cabra Road in Thurles. 

She clashed with the Catholic Church on several occasions, notably in her bid to have women ordained to the priesthood. Her funeral arrangements are expected to be announced at a later date.

Commenting on her death, Tipperary Labour TD Alan Kelly said: “I wish to offer my deepest sympathies to Marese’s family and all who knew her.

“The news of Marese’s death has been a huge shock to the people of Tipperary this evening. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam uasal.”

Tipperary TD Michael Lowry has also expressed his sadness at the news of her sudden passing. 

Deputy Lowry said: “I have known Marese for many years. She cared passionately about the plight of the underprivileged and disadvantaged and was always a great source of support and assistance to those in need. She will be sadly missed by all those who had the pleasure of knowing her.”

With reporting from Sarah Slater.

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