Limerick Decides: Turnout improves in Presidential Election and Blasphemy Referendum ahead of key evening period

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Email:

nick@limerickleader.ie

Limerick Decides: Turnout improves in Presidential Election and Blasphemy Referendum ahead of key evening period

TURNOUT in the Presidential Election and Blasphemy Referendum have shown a slight improvement in Limerick ahead of the key evening period.

After a very slow start this Friday, it’s anticipated that by the time the polls close in Limerick, the total turnout will be in the region of 40% – down from over 50% here during May’s referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

By teatime, turnout at the Model School in O’Connell Avenue had improved to 23%, with St Michael’s School in Barrington Street recording a total turnout of 19%.

Limerick City and County Council’s offices played host to the polling station traditionally at St Paul’s, due to building work in the national school. There, turnout was 16%.

Scoil Ide in Corbally recorded a rate of just over 18%, Milford National School 18.9% and Monaleen – a bellwether for the eastern suburbs coming in at 21%, a figure matched in Castleconnell.

Across the county, more than a quarter of those eligible to vote had done so in Caherline (25.5%), while Herbertstown was reporting a 20% turnout rate. Caherconlish had turnout of 17%, Hospital’s rate was lower at 16%.

A surge is anticipated as the final hours of voting approach, with polling stations open until 10pm.

The votes will then be counted on Saturday at the Limerick Racecourse.

Earlier in the day, John F Kennedy National School in the Ennis Road, which is considered a 'bellweather’ for the Limerick City constituency reported turnout of between nine per cent and 14% across its seven boxes.

It appears there is a disconnect among some young voters to this election, with one officer at the northside school telling the Leader that during May’s referendum, there were far more youngsters coming in early to vote.

The six candidates in the presidential election are Peter Casey, Gavin Duffy, Joan Freeman, Sean Gallagher, the incumbent Michael D Higgins and Liadh Ni Riada.

The ballot papers for the blasphemy referendum are green in colour with voters being asked clearly indicate their preference by marking the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ box.

In terms of this, voters are being asked whether to remove or retain Article 40.6 of the Constitution which makes blasphemy an offence.

There is no obligation on people to cast votes in both the presidential election and referendum and they are free to vote in just one if they wish.

More than 140,000 people are eligible to vote across Limerick.

Ballot papers will be sorted by count staff from 9am tomorrow with the counting of the votes expected to get underway around lunchtime.

While trends may become clear early in the day, the result of the first count is not expected until the early evening.

- Stay with the Limerick Leader for updates through today and during the count from the Limerick Racecourse on Saturday