WEST Cork voters will have their say at the polling stations this Friday when they’ll decide on who will represent them at both local and European levels for the next five years.
They’ll also be asked to cast their vote in the divorce referendum regarding the length of time that people have lived apart before they can be granted a divorce.
Controversial changes to electoral area boundaries since 2014 mean many voters will be seeing new faces on their ballot paper this time around. Candidates in some areas have had to canvass harder in recent weeks to ensure recognition, particularly in the Bandon Kinsale area.
Meanwhile, in the Ireland South Euro constituency, voters will have a choice of 23 candidates in a vast constituency which this year includes Laois and Offaly.
A recent Red C poll predicted that sitting FB MEP Sean Kelly would top the poll at 17%.
However, it suggested FG’s Deirdre Clune, one of three sitting MEPs contesting Ireland South with five seats up for grabs, would lose out, coming in seventh place.
FG have played down the findings of the poll which predicted the results as: Sean Kelly (FG), 17%; Liadh Ni Riada (SF), 15%; Billy Kelleher (FF) 13%; Malcolm Byrne (FF) 10%; Grace O’Sullivan (Green) 8% and newcomer Mick Wallace, Independent for Change at 8%.
Polling stations will remain open from 7am to 10pm on Friday and on Saturday West Cork’s local election counts will be split between Clonakilty Community Centre and the County Hall in Cork.
In Clonakilty, deputy returning officer Jerome O’Sullivan will oversee three LEAs: Bandon-Kinsale, Bantry-West Cork and Skibbereen-West Cork.
Boxes will be opened, segregated and verified for all three papers, i.e. European, local and referendum. Referendum papers will be despatched to Mallow GAA Complex for final counting. European papers will be despatched to Martin Harvey for Sunday counting in Nemo in Cork city, and local papers will be then be counted.
For up-to-the-minute coverage, see our ELECTION LIVE story from 7am on Friday here at www.southernstar.ie.