Over three million entitled to vote in election


ARRANGEMENTS: MORE THAN 3.1 million people in 43 constituencies are entitled to vote in the general election to fill seats in the 31st Dáil.

Acting on advice from Taoiseach Brian Cowen, President Mary McAleese yesterday dissolved the Dáil and summoned the incoming Dáil to meet on March 9th, at noon.

Minister for Local Government Éamon Ó Cuív then made an order appointing February 25th as polling day. Voting will take place between 7am and 10pm.

Voting in the 2007 election, which took place in May, was from 7.30am to 10.30pm.

The decision to hold the election on February 25th means that schools will be on a mid-term break and pupils will not lose another day following those lost before Christmas.

Potential candidates have up until next Wednesday to submit their nominations and may withdraw them up to noon on February 10th.

The new Dáil will have 166 members, including Ceann Comhairle Séamus Kirk, who will be returned unopposed.

Anyone who intends to vote is advised to check that their name is on the electoral register. This is because of the possibility that their name could have been inadvertently removed from the new register which was published yesterday and comes into effect on February 15th.

The register can be checked online at checktheregister.ie or by ringing the franchise section of your local authority.

People eligible to vote but who are not yet registered may apply for entry on a supplementary register to be published before polling day.

The deadline for such applications is February 8th.

Irish and British citizens are entitled to vote, but they must be at least 18 years old on polling day.

Tomorrow is the last day for voters to apply for a postal vote if they are entitled to one. Those entitled to a postal vote include people with an illness or disability which prevents them going to a polling station and people whose job prevents them voting at their local polling station.