BY JACKIE KEOGH
CAPE Clear islanders have claimed that their restricted voting times are leaving them disenfranchised.
According to Mairtin Ó Mealóid, who is the manager of Cape Clear’s co-operative, the people working on the mainland have effectively been disenfranchised by the limited opening hours of the island’s polling station.
The polling station normally closes shortly before 4pm, so that the polling box can be transported to the mainland on the last ferry.
However, this means that island residents returning from the mainland on the 5.30pm ferry will not have an opportunity to vote.
Mr Ó Mealóid said the co-operative suggested a compromise proposal – namely that polling could continue in Baltimore for a half an hour or so in the presence of the polling officers – but this has been rejected.
The co-operative manager said: ‘This is very disappointing, especially in the centenary year of the 1916 Rising. Limited job prospects on our offshore islands mean that island residents are increasingly being forced to find work on the mainland, which means that these people can no longer exercise their democratic rights.’