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Kenny should listen to his Director of Elections and have weekend General Election – Senator Kathryn Reilly

1 February, 2016

Speaking this afternoon Sinn Féin Youth Affairs Spokesperson Senator Kathryn Reilly again called for the General Election to be held at the weekend.

Senator Reilly said:

“It is well known that the day selected for an election has implications for the voter turnout and it cannot be the case that one or more groups of people are disadvantaged in their ability to vote because of the day selected.

“We need to respond to the realities of the lives of Irish people today and design our voting times and arrangements to suit them. We must be mindful of those people who are commuting long distances for work or who may be away from home during the week, such as students. We need to ensure that the election is held on a day to maximise voter turnout and participation.

“The possibility of Enda Kenny calling the upcoming General Election to take place on a Thursday would show complete disregard and borderline contempt towards workers who travel, young people, and students in particular.

“Fine Gael only show concern for young people when it suits them politically. In 2007 they introduced The Electoral (Amendment) (No.2 Bill) which sought to only allow national elections to be held on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays.

Introducing the Bill, Deputy Fergus O’Dowd said:

“Fine Gael is committed to ensuring that all those entitled to vote are given the maximum opportunity to do so. The Electoral (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill which we are bringing before the Dáil tonight will help to do this by only allowing national elections to be held on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.”

“Furthermore, the Fine Gael Director of Election, Brian Hayes, made this call back in 2002. This has been echoed by other Government TDs and Ministers since.

“Therefore, it is frustrating to see leaked reports in newspapers of Fine Gael TDs calling for the election to be held on a Thursday. Some of the reasons for these TDs calling for Thursday voting are beyond belief, to facilitate people to travel to a rugby match in England.

“While sport is important; travelling to a match is voluntary. We must be more mindful of those people who are commuting long distances for work or who may be away from home during the week, such as students; working and education is a necessity.

“Holding the general election on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, is one of the best methods by which to guarantee the maximum participation of people, particularly young people in the upcoming election, which is one their most crucial civic rights and responsibilities.”

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