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Dublin: 2 °C Saturday 29 February, 2020
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The voting has already begun in the marriage referendum

Islanders get to cast their vote the day before people on the Irish mainland.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

VOTING HAS ALREADY begun in the marriage referendum, with Irish islanders casting their votes today.

Polling stations don’t open until 7am tomorrow morning on the mainland, but around 2,000 people are eligible to cast their votes on Ireland’s 12 islands.

Voting takes place a day before the mainland to ensure that even in the case of bad weather, the votes reach the count centres.

Inishbofin

Out on Inishbofin, presiding officer Augustine Coyne said that turnout at the polling station in the national school was at 70%.

“It was such a slow start we thought it wouldn’t reach 50%,” he told TheJournal.ie. “It all happened there in the evening after 6pm onwards.”

He said there had been “no campaigning whatsoever” on the island, and “people just came out, they had their minds made up”.

The polls close at 10pm but Coyne predicted they wouldn’t see any more locals turning up to cast their vote.

Inishturk

Bernard Heaney, presiding officer on Inishturk, said that turnout was high at about 46%.

It was high considering the amount of people, that would be 48 or 49 on the registry and a good few on the register that have moved away from the island so [they couldn't vote here]. Out of all of them on the island, 23 out of 32 voted so it was a high turnout.

Like on Inishbofin, there was no campaigning in the run-up to the referendum.

Heaney – who has been presiding officer on the island for over 30 years – added that there “would have been as much interest” in this referendum as in previous years.

A garda has taken the ballot boxes off Inishturk, and they will be brought to Castlebar so they can be counted alongside the other votes that are cast tomorrow.

Queues at the airport

Meanwhile, big queues were reported earlier this evening at Dublin Airport’s passport control:

Image Credit: Catherine Brennan

Read: No selfies or badges: What you need to know before you vote tomorrow>

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