Irish Election Sidelights
The Twenty-Six County Republic of Ireland
held a general election last month.
Less than 63 per cent of the electorate
voted, the lowest figure in the history
of the twenty-six counties, and this
despite the fact that polling booths
were open from 7.30 a.m. until 10.30
p.m., a total of fifteen hours.
In three constituencies, Dublin North,
Dublin West and Meath, electronic voting
was introduced, replacing decades of
voting with paper and pencil. In a bizarre
twist, the hard discs from each voting
machine were removed and sent to a central
location, where their contents were
transferred into another computer for
tabulation. As a consequence, it took
five hours before results were announced.
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant!
One senior citizen gave her enthusiastic
approval to electronic voting. It took
her all of ten seconds to record her
votes-the proportional representation
system is used in Ireland, hence voters
may record their first, second, or more
preferences in favour of candidates.
"It was so easy, a baby could
do it," she said.
In most constituencies counting of
ballots cast the old fashioned way lasted
one, two, and even three days. In the
case of one constituency the final tally
took a full week to complete.
Almost a quarter of the 166 members
of the new Dáil (Dublin Parliament)
are relatives of former or current members,
known as deputies. Eighteen are sons
of former deputies; eight are daughters,
five are brothers, with the remaining
number comprised of three grandsons,
and one each of nephew, cousin, granddaughter
Canadians familiar with the concept
of the Family Compact in their own country,
long since uprooted and cast away, can
only marvel at its longevity in Ireland.
In the heel of the hunt, the outgoing
government remains in office with the
support of a coalition partner. Full
results may be found at the Government
of Ireland website-see Links
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