Up to 42% of Mayo electorate unlikely to vote on Friday

Story by Tom Kelly

Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019 5:00pm

Up to 42% of Mayo electorate unlikely to vote on Friday

John Condon, returning officer for the Mayo local elections

A TOTAL of 104,735 Mayo people are empowered to decide the shape of Mayo County Council for the next five years, returning officer John Condon has confirmed.

But a significant proportion of them won't cast their franchise as an average turnout in the region of 58% is expected.

Exactly 63 candidates are competing for the 30 seats to be filled in six electoral areas, the biggest of which is Castlebar, with seven seats for an electorate of 23,682.

The electorate figures for the areas are: Ballina, six seats (20,353), Belmullet, three seats (11,729), Claremorris, six seats (21,103), Swinford, four seats (14,296) and Westport, four seats (13,589).

Interestingly, 12 of the candidates are farmers, seven are teachers or self-employed, six are full-time public representatives, four are publicans and three are auctioneers, while a range of other professions are also represented.

Up to 26 of the outgoing members are seeking re-election, with only Frank Durcan, Gerry Ginty, Michael Holmes and Henry Kenny having retired.

Apart from the changes that will unfold as a result of those retirements, there is expected to be at least five other alterations to the line-up by the time the new council meet for the first time in June.

In a new development, two separate rooms will be used for the local election counts as the main hall is being retained exclusively for the European Parliament and referendum counts.

Mr. Condon told The Connaught Telegraph that once ballot boxes are opened and papers separated by a staff of over 200 in the main hall of the TF Royal Theatre, Castlebar, on Saturday, the count in the seven-seat Castlebar area will get underway around 11 a.m. in a separate room in the hotel known as the Velvet Room. This will continue through to completion.

The count in the four-seat Swinford area is expected to commence around lunchtime in a different area of the hotel, the Ruby Room.

The Ballina and Belmullet counts will also take place on Saturday in the Velvet Room and Ruby Room, respectively, with the intention of having four areas completed by the end of the opening day.

The counts in respect of the Claremorris (Velvet Room) and Westport (Ruby Room) areas will not start until Sunday at 9 a.m.

It will also be Sunday morning before counting in the Midlands North West constituency of the European Parliament election commences as Saturday will be spent by counting staff on the divorce referendum and local election matters.

Mayo County Registrar Fintan Murphy is the returning officer for the European count in the MNW constituency and referendum.

Voting gets underway in Mayo's offshore islands on Thursday, with voters in every other area going to the polls on Friday. Polling stations will be open from 7 a.m. to 10.30 p.m

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