Potential 'Euro' marathon count won't delay filling of Mayo council seats

The count for European Parliament elections in the newly-extended midlands north-west constituency, which takes place at the TF Royal Theatre in Castlebar next month, has the potential to be one of the longest in modern Irish political history.

And that's not just because there are a record 27 candidates in the field, but it's due to the fact that over one million ballot papers from 15 counties must be separated from local election ballot papers before counting can get underway.

All of the ballot papers are not expected to arrive at the count centre until the Sunday at the earliest - meaning counting of votes will not get underway until 48 hours after polling day on June 7.

Interestingly, the ballot paper itself measures 28 inches, a factor that could present problems for the tally people.

The task of overseeing the mammoth count falls to Marian Chambers Higgins, Galway county registrar, and efforts to secure sufficient count staff numbers are ongoing.

However, this logistical challenge will not, despite speculation to the contrary, delay counting of votes in the six electoral areas in the Mayo County Council elections.

John Condon, returning officer, confirmed to The Connaught Telegraph that two spacious areas at the TF Royal Theatre, naming the Ruby and Velvet rooms, will be at his disposal to ensure swift progress on counting and electing candidates throughout the weekend.

"Once the local and European election ballot papers from all the Mayo boxes are segregated, I intend to proceed with the counts from the various electoral areas of Mayo. I have not decided the sequence as of yet," he said.

If matters go according to plan for Mr. Condon and his staff - and recounts are avoided - then the 30 seats on Mayo County Council will be filled late on the Sunday night or in the early hours of Monday morning.