A Longford-Westmeath TD has brushed aside claims voters in his own home town returned a ‘No’ vote in last weekend’s Children’s referendum, saying unofficial tallies taken at the count were unreliable.
Robert Troy said uncorraborated results transcribed from Sunday morning’s earlier than expected finish in Kenagh Community Centre were, at best, distorted.
“It’s not a fair reflection,” said Fianna Fail’s spokesperson for children. “I was the last person to leave Ballynacargy on Saturday night and I was the first person in to cast my vote. There were two boxes, one with 526 and the other with 501. In that box 100 people or 25 per cent voted and in the second one 169 votes were taken.”
This, despite a handful of tallymen indicating to the Leader on Sunday that the Ballynacargy electorate had opted against ratifying the referendum.
Instead, Mr Troy said those claims were misfounded as he insisted just 97 out of 268 voting papers were tallied.
“We don’t know what the final result (in Ballynacargy) was because the next 50 votes could have been yes ones,” he said.
Defending his own role in the much talked about multi-party push for a yes vote, the former Westmeath Co Councillor criticised the Government’s “lacklustre” handling of the campaign.
He said the fact Longford-Westmeath’s support for the referendum at 55 per cent, three points below the national average, was not indicative of shortcomings linked to his and Fianna Fail’s campaign locally.
“I canvassed door to door and I had Jeffrey Shannon (child law expert) and Senator Jillian Van Turnhout (children’s rights activist) down to speak about it (referendum) and I also spoke in Longford too.”
Mr Troy said the blame for the low turnout, one of the lowest in electoral history and just over 30 per cent in Longford-Westmeath, lay squarely at the doors of government leaders.
Much of the finger-pointing, he said, would continue over the next number of days with last week’s Supreme Court ruling taking pride of place.
“Five of the most senior members of the judiciary found it (government’s own private referendum information campaign) to be unfair and unlawful. $1.1m was spent on what was an awful indictment. Whose idea was it to run a campaign in parallel with the independent commission?”
It’s a question Mr Troy said he intends on hammering home as the Dail continues to debate what damage, if any, has been left in the wake of Sunday’s marginal yes vote.