Following the closure of Ballycloghan NS last summer, people who traditionally voted in the school were transferred to neighbouring parishes to exercise their democratic right. As a result, local councillor Larry Bannon has petitioned that they should be allowed to return to the area ahead of any future election vote or referendum.
Cllr Larry Bannon said, “The people of Ballycloghan and that area felt very annoyed that they were brought to the next parish of Ardagh to vote in the referendum,” said Cllr Bannon. “I don’t think any of the people from the area went out to vote. They want to vote in their own parish.
“There is a suitable area. There’s a lovely, snug little hall in the parish of Ballycloghan beside the school, with good parking facilities and everything. I propose that we look to have the polling booth there.”
Cllrs Mick Cahill and Paddy Belton agreed with Cllr Bannon.
In response, Director of Services for Corporate, Cultural and Recreational Services, Frank Sheridan said following the closure of the school, the County Registrar initially chose Ardagh as the location for voters in the last referendum.
“She has now asked us to consult in relation to where would be the best place,” said Mr Sheridan. He suggested that the members would meet this month, possibly with the Co Registrar and put forward the community hall to see if it’s suitable.
Cllrs Gerry Brady, Frank Kilbride and Micheal Carrigy said community halls should be considered as alternatives to schools for polling booths, in order save schools having to close for a day.
Co Mayor, Cllr Sean Farrell, said there is a cost involved in hiring a hall for a day and suggested that that might be the reason that schools have been used.
Cllrs Brady and Tom Victory countered that Board of Managements get a €100 cheque for the use of the school. Cllr Victory added that the the management committees of halls and community centres may look for cost of loss of bookings or may not be available for use.