Referendum votes should be counted at Clonakilty

Fine Gael TD for Cork South West Jim Daly has confirmed to the Southern Star that he has written to the Cork County Sheriff asking her to reconsider the current arrangement of having County votes at referendums being hosted and counted in Cork City.

Speaking ahead of the upcoming referendum on the abolition of the Seanad due to be held on October 4th, Jim Daly has described as unusual the current practice of transporting all the votes cast in West Cork to the city to be counted. “These votes cast in the County area should be counted in West Cork providing a boost for the local economy on count day” stated the Clonakilty based TD.

Ms. Sinead McNamara who is the Cork County Sheriff and also the Cork County returning officer for the constituency’s of Cork South West, Cork North West and Cork East has the responsibility for the management and counting of votes at various referendums and elections.

Jim Daly said “Clonakilty has traditionally been the venue for the counting of votes cast at General Elections and the event contributed significantly to the local economy with hundreds of people visiting the town on the day of counts. There is always strong interest in West Cork for the various elections and referendum results. These events attract large numbers of people, many of whom stay in the town for the entire day and spend locally in the various shops and restaurants. In addition to this staff at the count centre will also dine in the local restaurants and hotels”.

The County Registrar has responsibility for the counting of votes following elections and referendums in the 3 County constituencies namely Cork East, Cork South West and Cork North West. These three constituencies have a combined electorate of 202,655 eligible to vote. Following referendums, these votes are counted in a count centre located in Cork city. The votes cast in the city constituencies are counted at a separate venue in the city.

Jim Daly believes that the rate payers in the county deserve their fair share of any economic boost generated by Government referendums. “In these challenging times any event held in an area brings about a welcome economic boost to the area.” said Jim Daly.

According to the Fine Gael TD Local businesses will not be the only winners if the count is relocated back to West Cork. “Democracy will also be enhanced by such a move. Count centres are a great education and contribute significantly to people’s interest and understanding of democracy.
Clonakilty is very centrally located for people who have an interest in attending the vote counting events and also has more than adequate free parking and other services that people can avail of while in town for the day. People who have a genuine interest in the counts would not be as inclined to attend at City centre locations. They would not either enjoy the vibrant and exciting social event that all previous counts, without exception, held at Clonakilty Community Hall have proven to be in the past.”

Deputy Daly concluded by saying he is looking forward to receiving a response from Ms. McNamara and he hoped that she would find herself in a position to look favourably on his request.