Limerick says yes despite low turnout in referendum

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Voters in Limerick followed the national trend at the weekend by voting in favour of the Childen’s Referendum by a majority of almost two-to-one.

Voters in Limerick followed the national trend at the weekend by voting in favour of the Childen’s Referendum by a majority of almost two-to-one.

Despite the vote being held on a Saturday, the turnout was just over 30% in the Limerick and Limerick city constitencies.

The counting of votes, which took place at the UL Arena in Castletroy, began at 9am on Sunday and was completed shortly before midday due to the low turnout.

Unofficial tallies conducted throughout the morning showed the referendum was carried in most areas of Limerick with just a handful of ballot boxes a no vote.

These were in Moyross, Ballynanty, Southill and in Croom.

The official result reflected the tallies with 61% of people voting yes in the Limerick city constituency and 59% voting yes in the Limerick constituency.

The margin of the yes ‘victory’ was narrower in the Kerry North / Limerick West constituency where 53.6% voted in favour of the proposed amendments to the constitution.

Of the 202 spoiled votes in Limerick, a significant number of voters made reference to the high pensions being paid to former banking chiefs while others criticised the lack of information during the campaign.

“Flawed Don’t know not enough information,” read a note written across one ballot paper, while another read: “Protest vote against bankers and pensions.”

Politicians who attended the count centre called for a detailed review to be conducted of Saturday voting.

Minister Jan O’Sullivan admitted the turnout was disappointing but she warned against a knee-jerk reaction.

She said low turnout is often the reality in single issue referenda and that people would have had patterns in the past of voting after work or school and that the Children’s Referendum was “a totally new pattern for people”.

Fine Gael TD Dan Neville said he was surprised at the level of the turnout.

”We want to maximise the vote and the views of the people in any referendum that we do and I suppose in some way this was an experiment and there was a belief in many circles that weekend voting would bring out higher levels of voting but it didn’t transpire this time.”