Irish News

Saturday 2 August 2014

Fraudster councillor to cast Seanad vote in jail

Historic first for 'Stroke' Fahy

Brian McDonald

Published 05/07/2007|00:00

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SPECIAL arrangements are being put in place to allow the country's only jailed public representative vote in the Seanad elections.

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Councillor Michael 'Stroke' Fahy is serving a 12-month sentence at Castlerea Prison for fraud and attempted theft of Galway County Council funds.

He was found unanimously guilty of a number of charges following a trial at Galway Circuit Court last March.

He is believed to be the first public representative ever to vote in a Senate election from prison.

Along with the 12-month prison sentence, Cllr Fahy (56), from Ardrahan, was also fined a total of €75,000. He has appealed both the conviction and penalty but it is expected to be at least November before his appeal is heard.

Arrangements

He is due for release in January of next year.

Galway Co Council has indicated that it will not take steps to have him removed from office until his appeal is heard.

As an elected councillor, Mr Fahy is entitled to vote for candidates seeking election to the Senate on five panels: Cultural and Educational, Agricultural, Labour, Industrial and Commercial and Administrative.

As a councillor, he is entitled to cast five number ones and continue his preferences on the ballot papers for candidates of his choice.

Cllr Fahy, who is the longest serving member of Galway Co Council, was elected a Fianna Fail councillor at every local authority election since 1979.

Under the terms of the Electoral (Amendment) Act of 2006, the governor of Castlerea Prison or an official authorised by the governor must make arrangements to allow Cllr Fahy to vote according to the specific requirements of the Senate elections.

This involves Cllr Fahy producing to the governor the voting documents issued to him by registered post. He will also be required to complete a form of declaration of identity.

After voting, he must place his ballot papers in a supplied official envelope along with the declaration of identity and hand them to the governor.

The governor, for his part, must affix a supplied label to the envelope and sign it as well as ensure that appropriate arrangements are made for the return of the sealed envelope by registered post.

The ballot papers and accompanying documentation are being issued to all voters in the Senate elections next Monday, July 9.

The votes have to be sent back to the Returning Officer at Leinster House before 11am on July 23.

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