Strong turnout as polls close in Limerick

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, casting his vote in the marriage referendum at St Paul's school, Dooradoyle. Picture: Adrian Butler
POLLING in the marriage and presidential-age referendums has now closed, with turnout reported to be strong across Limerick.

POLLING in the marriage and presidential-age referendums has now closed, with turnout reported to be strong across Limerick.

Indications are that the national turnout could be the highest for any referendum in Irish history, with polling stations estimating a turnout of between 50 and 60 percent.

Up to 70,000 people were eligible to vote today in Limerick to decide whether or not to accept the two proposed changes to the constitution.

Some reports have suggested that turnout in Limerick could pass the 60% electorate turnout mark. Earlier reports suggested that, at 5pm, turnout was around 35% in the city and almost 40% in the county.

Unofficial reports suggest that the turnout in the Limerick County constituency could “match or exceed” that for the most recent general election, according to Senator James Heffernan.

“Turnout 4 #MarRef 2match or exceed GE turnout in Limerick County constituency,” he tweeted this evening.

While previous referendums have seen a turnout of around 37% in Limerick, the numbers voting this time are expected to be higher.

The National Youth Council of Ireland confirmed that some 1,787 people across Co Limerick had been added to the supplementary register in advance of the vote.

Almost 400 polling booths across the city and county were open today until 10pm with the votes set to be counted on Saturday.

More than 60,000 people were entitled to vote in both the Limerick City and Limerick constituencies and as existing Dail boundaries applied for the referendums, almost 11,000 people living in parts of West Limerick were entitled to vote in the North Kerry / Limerick West constituency.

Voters in Limerick have voted in favour of the last three amendments to the constitution with turnouts of between 32% and 39% on each occasion.

Following the closure of polling stations tonight, the ballot boxes will be transferred under garda escort to the UL Arena where they will be kept overnight.

Ballot papers will be sorted by count staff from 9am on Saturday with the counting of the votes expected to get underway by 11am.

Local returning officer Pat Wallace has confirmed the votes cast in the Marriage Equality referendum will be counted first with a result expected by early afternoon.

However, it will not become clear how Limerick voted until the national results are announced later in the day by the national returning officer at Dublin Castle. Votes cast in the North Kerry / Limerick West constituency will be counted in Tralee.

The Limerick Leader will have updates to follow here on LimerickLeader.ie and in the print editions next week on the results.

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