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Register being cleansed of working class voters warns Crowe

20 November, 2006

Sinn Féin’s Social Affairs Seán Crowe TD has warned that tens of thousands of people, primarily from working class and disadvantaged areas, have disappeared off the electoral register. He cited West Tallaght as an example, where 6,543 people have disappeared off the Register, over a third of the electorate. He called on the Government to extend the closing date for registration and to ensure lists of deleted voters were publically available.


The Dublin South-West TD said: “In the Tallaght West area of my constituency, over six and a half thousand people have been taken off the rolls in an electorate of approximately 20,000. In some cases voters got letters informing them they would be taken off the register if they did not contact the Council within a certain period of time, but they got the letters after the deadline had expired.


“In some estates over half the electorate has disappeared. People who were on the register for thirty years have been taken off it. Along with other local representatives I requested a copy of the list of names deleted from the Register, but was refused by South Dublin County Council because they believed there was a data protection issue. But on checking with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, I was told that they would have no objection to that list being made available,


“We are facing a disaster of massive proportions in this electoral registration drive. Tens of thousand of voters have disappeared across the state and the Tallaght West experience shows that it is areas of high disadvantage that are being hit hardest. The areas most in need of representation, are going to be the ones deprived of their vote as working class voters are cleansed from the register. Instead of cleaning up the register, whole areas are being disenfranchised.


“I am calling for an immediate extension in the November 25th deadline, as demanded by all Opposition parties and a number of Fianna Fáil backbenchers. I am also calling for the Government to make publicaly available to community groups, residents associations and parties the lists of people who have been deleted from the Register to enable activists to try and ensure that those people who have a right to vote, have the opportunity to exercise it.”


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