Election 2020: Islanders go to the polls on Friday in Donegal, Mayo, Galway West

Voters do not need polling cards to cast ballot, and numerous forms of identity are acceptable

Islanders off the coasts of constituencies Donegal, Mayo and Galway West will go to the polls on Friday, one day ahead of the rest of the State. However, voters on seven islands in Cork South West, where the islands are closer to the coast, will vote with the rest of the country on Saturday.

A total of 2,171 voters are eligible to cast their ballot on 12 islands in the constituencies of Donegal, Mayo and Galway West. They include 680 on Inishmore, Co Galway, and just four voters on Inishfree off Co Donegal.

As the electorate gets set to vote the Department of Local Government has urged voters not to be concerned if they have not received a voting card. A department spokesman said voters on the register do not need a polling information card to vote as a number of other forms of identification are acceptable.

These include a passport, driving licence, public services card, an employee identity card containing a photograph, a student identity card with a photograph, a travel document with a photograph and name, or a bank, savings or credit union book with the voter’s address in the constituency.


A voter could also show a cheque book, cheque or credit card, birth or marriage certificate once they produce one of these with a document showing their address in the constituency.

Early voting on the islands was set to be abolished under private member’s legislation introduced by Fianna Fáil Galway West TD Eamon Ó Cuív. The Government gave the required “money message” in April last year to allow it to proceed but it did not complete its progress through the Oireachtas.

Returning officer

Minister of State for the Islands and Government Chief Whip Sean Kyne said it was up to the returning officer in each island constituency to decide on the date.

Met Éireann has issued Yellow wind and rain warnings for the whole country for election day. Voters going to the polls on Saturday are likely to have to brave winds gusting at up to 110 km/h and heavy rain.

Mayo returning officer Fintan J Murphy said early voting ensured that “even with inclement weather there is every possibility we will be able to ship the ballot boxes to the mainland in time to allow the count for the Mayo constituency to proceed at 9am on Sunday the 9th [of February]”.

Mr Murphy said that voting nationally was delayed during one election in the 1980s when even with early voting the box from one island off Mayo could not get to the mainland for a number of days.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times