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EU candidate calls for Saturday election

3 December, 2003


Sinn Féin candidate for the North West EU constituency, Pearse Doherty, has criticised the government for announcing Friday 11th June next as the date for the European and Local Elections. Mr. Doherty said that a Saturday election would be preferable in order to fully accommodate students and young people who work away from home.

Mr. Doherty said:

"Any arguments used against holding weekend elections in the past are now completely redundant considering the second referendum on the Treaty of Nice was held on a Saturday. This is simply evidence that Fianna Fáil are afraid to allow young voters the opportunity to pass judgment of the performance of the government parties in Europe and in local council chambers. The fact that it is proposed that polling stations will close at 9pm rather than 10pm, as was the case in the general election, compounds these suspicions.

"It is unfortunate that the elections will be held during the leaving certificate examinations. Sinn Féin would have been happier to see a late May election date to avoid this clash. However, the least that we should expect would be that young voters and those working away from home would be accommodated by a Saturday election.

"I am asking Minister Cullen to reconsider his decision and I am proposing that a Saturday election be called."ENDS

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