Limerick voters have their say on constitutional reforms

Leader Reporters


Leader Reporters

Polling is taking place across Limerick until 10pm tonight. Picture: Adrian Butler
UP to 70,000 people are expected to go to the polls today in Limerick to vote whether to accept two proposed changes to the constitution.

UP to 70,000 people are expected to go to the polls today in Limerick to vote whether to accept two proposed changes to the constitution.

Voters in Limerick are joining the electorate across the country in voting on whether to allow for same-sex marriages in Ireland.

And they are also voting to lower the age of candidacy for the presidency from 35 down to 21.

It is the first vote which has drawn the most attention, with heavy campaigning from both Yes and No advocates.

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.

All the main political parties are recommending a Yes vote, a move which No campaigner John O’Gorman, Ballylanders, said has caused regret among many of those people who will be voting against it.

Pat Wallace is County Registrar and the Returning officer for the two Limerick constituencies and issued the following advice:

“The 34th referendum, which is the more prominent one, marriage equality, is a white paper, and the presidential age is referendum is a green paper,” he said this week.

“A voter should bring a passport, a driving licence, an employee identity card, a student identity card, some travel documents or a bank or savings or credit union book with their name and adress on it, or a public services card. All those will suffice,” he added.

A number of changes have been made to polling stations and voters are being urged to check their polling cards to see where they are due to vote.

Changes have been made to polling stations and voters are being encouraged to check their polling cards to ensure they attend the right station to vote.

Bruff man Dan O’Donnell contacted the Limerick Leader this morning to express his “exasperation at the change made to where I normally cast my vote”. His station has moved from Grange to Knockea National School, while changes have also been made in the city, for example at Our Lady of Lourdes School, with polling now taking place at the community centre.

Almost 400 polling booths across the city and county will be open until 10pm with the votes being counted on Saturday.

More than 60,000 people are entitled to vote in both the Limerick City and Limerick constituencies and as existing Dail boundaries will apply for the referendums, almost 11,000 people living in parts of West Limerick will be 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.

A Twitter trend - #hometovote - has revealed large numbers of people have returned to their native country to vote in the referendums, with a larger than average turnout expected as a result.

Meanwhile, a helpline set up for members of the LGBT community will be extending its opening hours on referendum day.

1890 929 539 provides support and information for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

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

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