Minister worried No campaigners may try to ‘undermine’ vote

Eoghan Murphy says attempt to affect result could be made by questioning electoral register procedure

As the moratorium takes effect both sides reflect on the referendum campaign and how the outcome of the vote will shape Ireland's future.

 

The Minister with responsibility for the electoral process has said he is “worried” that No campaigners may try to “undermine the integrity” of Friday’s vote on whether the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution should be repealed.

Eoghan Murphy, the Minister for Local Government, said some campaigners could be attempting to undermine the referendum result by questioning the referendum process.

Earlier this week in the Dáil, Independent Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath – a prominent No voter – said there are “irregularities” with the electoral register, claiming some people had been put on the register without their knowledge. He also asked if “international observers” would monitor the referendum process.

Mr McGrath’s claims were rejected by Mr Murphy, and other figures campaigning for a Yes vote.

‘Respect the outcome’

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Murphy said: “We have a very robust electoral process in this country. And I’d be worried that some people on the No side might be trying to undermine the integrity of the outcome by questioning that process and by questioning the procedure by which people get on the register of electors and go out and actually exercise their right and go and vote.

“We don’t yet know what the outcome will be. Obviously we are advocating for a Yes and we hope there will be a Yes vote and I fully expect both people on the Yes and No side to respect the outcome of the vote.”

Mr McGrath had claimed he had “emails from people all over the country who have been registered in Dublin when they have registered in Mayo, Cork and different places and they did not ask to be registered here”.

‘Irregularities’

“There were French students. And I had Majella on to me from Mayo. She was registered in Mayo, and I have confirmation of that, and she is now registered in Dublin, without asking or inquiring. There are irregularities.”

He said he had written to Mr Murphy on the issue, and the Minister said he was aware of one incident of someone being added to the register when they should not have been. It did not, Mr Murphy said, mean this person is entitled to vote.

Polling cards

A Garda spokesman said issues relating to polling cards are generally referred to local authorities.

“If the council realises there is an issue, that cards have been issued fraudulently, then a returning officer would make a complaint to the Garda,” the spokesman said.

Some local authorities have maintained that there will always be some slight anomalies in the voter registration process.

Mr Murphy said he had “full confidence in each of the presiding officers in each of our polling stations, that they will be able to do their job properly and accurately”.

“Where they have any concerns, it is their responsibility to ask questions, to seek identification. That falls to them to do that job but I have confidence in them to do that job and I have confidence in the processes that have been put in place.”

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