French student in Galway surprised to get referendum polling card

Erasmus participant did not apply to local authority and is not entitled to vote in Ireland

A French student on a year-long Erasmus programme in Galway has received a polling card for the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

Caroline Sourisseau, from Brest, has been studying English and literature at NUI Galway and is due to return home to France tomorrow.

Last Tuesday, she received a polling card in the post at the address of the home in which she is staying in Galway. Ms Sourisseau did not apply to the local authority for the card and checked with her landlady to ensure she had not done so.

The student is a French national and, as such, is not entitled to vote in general elections or in referendums.


“I was really surprised to see the card on Tuesday. I checked and all the details on it are correct. I have not registered for anything in Galway except for last September when I registered for internal student elections at NUIG.”

Ms Sourisseau reported the matter to An Garda Síochána, who checked her French ID and also said the polling card seemed authentic.

“I looked up the ‘check the register’ site and found my name to be on it. This is very serious and should not be happening. I just wonder is it an isolated case or are there other students who have been registered without their knowledge?”

She said there were approximately 8,000 Erasmus students in Ireland. However, she said she had heard of no other cases.

“I come from a country that values democracy and I know Ireland does the same.”

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times