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Gardaí need to cooperate with voter registration

19 April, 2004

Sinn Féin Representative for Dublin South East, Daithí Doolan, speaking today in Dublin, called on Gardaí to co-operate fully with people registering to vote in the forthcoming elections. Mr. Doolan said, "current legislation requires people who are applying to be included on the register of electors for June to have their forms filled out in the presence of a Garda and signed by the Garda. While encouraging constituents to register to do so I have been alarmed by the fact that Gardaí are totally unaware of their obligations under this legislation. I have spoken to one Garda station here in Dublin's inner city and was concerned when Gardaí informed me that they were unaware of their role."

Mr. Doolan continued, "In my own constituency there is a large number of people who have recently moved to their current address and are not registered to vote. I am actively encouraging them to register and to use their vote. I made it my business to contact the Gardaí and discuss the matter. But having spoken to them I realised they themselves had no idea of the requirements and responsibilities under this legislation. Many of my constituents are non nationals voting here for the first time. Their right to vote must be upheld and should not be relegated because the Gardaí simply do not understand their responsibilities and have not been informed by the government of their duties in this regard."

In conclusion Mr. Doolan demanded "That Martin Cullen, Minister for the Environment, inform all Garda stations, as a matter urgency, of their obligations and to ensure that anyone wishing to register to vote can do so without hindrance." ENDS

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