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Reports of illegal ‘canvassing’ outside local polling stations

Voters at Ballyraine NS polling station in Letterkenny this morning morning.

Voters at Ballyraine NS polling station in Letterkenny this morning.

THERE has been anecdotal evidence of illegal ‘canvassing’ by candidates and their supporters in the vicinity of polling stations around the county this morning.

Voting is ongoing in the local and European elections, with the electorate able to cast their vote until 10 pm tonight.

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According to the Department of Environment, no canvassing is permitted within 50 metres of a polling station.

However, in Letterkenny this morning, some candidates and their supporters could be seen ‘meeting and greeting’ members of the public outside a number of stations.

Also, cars with the names of candidates emblazoned along the sides, were parked at the main entrances to two Letterkenny polling stations since early morning.

One car, with an independent candidate’s name on it, was moved from the front door of a third station after a complaint was made.

Attempts were unsuccessful this morning to contact the County Registrar to ascertain whether or not any official complaints were made.

A total of 83 candidates are fighting for just 37 seats on Donegal County Council.

Polling stations opened at 7 am, and voting was described as ‘steady’ at around lunchtime.

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A Donegal News survey, carried out at lunchtime, showed that turnout in Letterkenny was between 12 and 14 per cent.

Meanwhile, RTE Raidió na Gaeltachta were reporting turnout as high as 25 percent in Carrick in south west Donegal around the same time and as low as just six per cent in Fanad.

A total of 753 people were entitled to vote on Donegal’s five islands yesterday.

Tory Island had the highest turnout at 48 per cent, just under 40 per cent on Arranmore, followed by Inishfree (33), Gola (30) and just 4.6 per cent on Inishboffin.

There are over 125,000 people eligible to vote in Donegal, with an electorate of over 31,000 in the Letterkenny/Milford Electoral Area, where 10 seats are up for grabs.

Inishowen, with nine seats, has just over 30,000 voters, while there are six seats in each of Donegal and Glenties, both with just over 22,000 voters, and Stranorlar with just over 19,000 voters.

The sorting of both the local and European election votes will take place tomorrow in the Aura Leisure Centre, Letterkenny. European ballot papers will then be sent to Castlebar for counting.

Counting of local election ballots will take place on Sunday at Donegal’s five count centres in Letterkenny, Stranorlar, Buncrana, Glenties and Donegal town.

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Donegal News is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. St. Anne's Court, Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland