Longford voter turnout slightly above national total

Just over half of Longford voters turned out at polling stations throughout Co Longford yesterday in what has become one of the most hotly talked about presidential elections in decades.

Just over half of Longford voters turned out at polling stations throughout Co Longford yesterday in what has become one of the most hotly talked about presidential elections in decades.

From the northern end of the county to villages and small towns in the south, final turnout figures varied from 45 per cent to 55 per cent, marginally ahead of the projected 50 per cent total.

Polling stations in more densely populated areas reported a slightly higher turnout with Longford town’s Teagasc office returning a figure of 55.2 per cent.

Not far behind was Granard on 53 per cent with Ballymahon a further seven per cent further back on 46 per cent.

Returning officers in more rural areas of the county reported a similarly lively end to proceedings from 6pm on as voters returned home from work to cast their vote.

In Legan, election staff receorded a 51.5 per cent turnout, almost three per cent behind that of Ballinalee which returned a final 54 per cent total.

Despite only around one in two deciding to vote, many other parts of the country experienced worse than average interest, regardless of the record seven candidates in the field.

One issue which reportedly cropped up in many polling stations centred on a lack of understanding surrounding the implications of the two referenda.

In some instances, voters handed back the two slips for the referenda after filling out their presidential ballot papers.

First count results from the Longford-Westmeath constituency and the nation’s 42 others are expected later this evening.

Early indications show veteran Labour Party politician Michael D Higgins looks set to be named Ireland’s ninth president.