Cllr Maurice Quinlivan: ‘Polling station situation is bonkers’
THOUSANDS of voters across the northside of Limerick will face inconvenience on polling day, with many forced to travel outside their neighbourhood to vote.
In a situation described by Sinn Fein’s general election candidate Maurice Quinlivan as “bonkers”, people in Kileely will have to travel to the Watch House Cross in Moyross to vote, rather than the former St Lelia’s School at Creagh Avenue.
And in a bizarre twist, voters from Thomondgate who would normally cast their vote at the Unitas club in the High Road are now being asked to travel to St Lelia’s, which has since opened as an extension to the St Munchin’s Community Enterprise Centre.
Back in the autumn, councillors approved the polling scheme on the basis that St Lelia’s School was closed and not able to be used as a polling station. It was agreed people in Kileely would travel to Moyross to vote.
But only last month, after it emerged the Unitas club would be closed for renovations on election day, the returning officer Pat Wallace was alerted St Lelia’s was available, and could be used as a polling station – and instructed Thomondgate residents to vote there.
Cllr Quinlivan confirmed around 2,145 voters will be affected by this change, and said: “It is an inconvenience, particularly in the two areas which are close together. Both areas have an older population, and the problem would be many of them would not realise it has changed, and would have difficulties getting to the Watch House Cross. I just cannot understand why they cannot all just stay in Kileely.”
Mr Wallace said: “There was no intention to oust the Kileely voters out of their station. It’s happened, it’s unfortunate it has happened, and the situation will have to be reviewed once this election is over, and the next polling scheme is approved by the local authority.”
Meanwhile, the first televised debate of Election 2016 will be broadcast on Monday next from the University Concert Hall.
Seven party leaders are expected to take part in Monday’s debate while will be moderated by RTE’s Claire Byrne and will go out live at 9.30pm.
The seven are expected to be the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny Fine Gael; the Tánaiste Joan Burton, Labour; Michéal Martin, Fianna Fail; Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein; Lucinda Creighton, Renua, Stephen Donnelly, Social Democrats and Richard Boyd Barrett or Paul Murphy for the AAA-PBP.