THE country's largest local authority has apologised after sending polling cards for this Friday's referendums to dead people.
Dublin City Council has admitted an error in the issuing of polling cards for the votes on whether to abolish the Seanad, and whether to establish a new court of appeal.
Of about 330,000 voters on the electoral register in the city council area, a total of about 35,000 voters – more than 10pc – have been affected by the printing error.
The blunder, which occurred in the printing of the cards, is reminiscent of instances last year where demands for payment of the household charge were sent to children and to people who have died.
In a statement, the local authority said: "A small number of polling cards were issued in error to voters who are now deceased.
"Dublin City Council apologises unreservedly to the families and relatives concerned for any distress this may have caused."
Categories of voters also affected by the printing error include:
* New voters who have not received polling cards.
* People who have moved house and whose cards have been sent to their old address.
* Voters whose polling cards direct them to the wrong station.
A spokesman said he could not give a figure for the "small number" of deceased people who had been sent polling cards.
He said that the council had not received any complaints from family members as of last night.
As many as 9,000 people have been sent the incorrect information about their polling station.
That sum overlaps with 29,000 people who are new voters and have not received cards, voters who have changed address, or people who have died.
The spokesman said the council became aware of the error "in the last 24 hours".
"We apologise profusely for it and we're taking the necessary steps at the moment just to notify people who may have received incorrect information or maybe didn't receive their polling card.
"This error on our part won't result in anybody who's entitled to vote not being able to vote on Friday," he added.
In admitting its error last night Dublin City Council reminded voters that they are not required to present a polling card at their polling station in order to vote in the referendums.
It said that valid identification such as a passport, driver's licence or a garda identity card should be brought when going to vote.
According to the statement the council "has taken immediate action to rectify this error and we are currently in the process of notifying all affected voters by post".