Islanders can vote in advance today

Thu, Nov 8, 2012, 00:00

Islanders off the coast of Donegal, Mayo and Galway will be the first citizens to pass their verdict on the children’s rights referendum today when polling stations open.

More than 2,500 people are eligible to cast their votes from this morning, two days in advance of the rest of the country.

Voting has traditionally taken place on the islands before the rest of the country in case bad weather delays the delivery of ballot boxes in time for the count.

Almost 800 people on the Donegal islands of Arranmore, Gola, Inishbofin, Inishfree and Tory Island are registered to vote, with more than 500 of these on Arranmore. There are only six registered voters on Inishfree.

More than 100 people on Clare Island, off the coast of Mayo, will also be eligible to vote as will 29 people on Inishbiggle and 48 on Inishturk.

Voters on the Aran Islands of Inishmore, Inishmaan, Inisheer and Inishbofin, off the coast of Galway, will also go to the polls today.

More than 1,100 are eligible to cast their ballot on the four islands, with the majority living on Inishmore.

The ballot boxes will be transported to the mainland under Garda escort and held for counting on Sunday at the John Bosco Centre in Donegal, the TF Royal Theatre, Castlebar, Co Mayo, and the Leisureland complex in Salthill, Co Galway.

Some 460 voters living on seven islands off the coast of Cork, including Sherkin and Clear islands, will wait until Saturday to cast their ballots along with the rest of the country.

Voting on Saturday will begin at 9am and continue until 10pm.

Counting of ballots will begin at 9am on Sunday at 28 centres around the country.

The results will be collated at the central count centre in Dublin Castle, where referendum returning officer Ríona Ní Fhlanghaile will declare the overall result.

The results for individual constituencies will be available on referendum.ieonce they have been verified.

If passed, the 31st amendment to the Constitution will introduce a new article into the Constitution, article 42A, and will remove article 42.5.

Its aim is to strengthen the rights of children under the Constitution.