WHILE THE electorate chose not to vote in any great numbers in the Children Referendum, Wexford politicians chose to not even attend the count centre in Clonard Community Centre.
Not a single T.D. or local politician showed during the three-andhalf hour count on Sunday, although Fine Gael tallymen lead by Martin Lawlor were out in force.
So when County Registrar, Marie Garahy, brought the curtain down with the announcement of the results, local politicians were everywhere but at the count centre.
From early in the morning it had quickly become clear that the 80% Yes vote prediction of some commentators was way off the mark, prompting one of those present to observe: ' this is a bad day for the Government'.
The FG tally was very accurate, predicting a 55% Yes to 45% No from early in the day as the counters moved from boxes in rural North Wexford/Bunclody into the remaining three districts.
Despite repeated appeals through Saturday from politicians urging voters to turn out the trend continued slow with Wexford's Faythe School station reporting just 16% by mid-afternoon, while Gorey CBS was coming in at 18%. In St. Senan's in Enniscorthy the turnout was running at just 8.1% by 12.30 p.m. before moving sluggishly along to 14% by 5 p.m.
Voters in rural areas were also slow to come out with just 1% voting in Kilanerin by 10.30 a.m. with the turnout increasing to just 10% by 2.30 p.m.
In Bree, the polling station of Government Chief White, Paul Kehoe, just 10 people had cast their vote by 11 a.m. increasing to 80 by 4.30 p.m.
In New Ross the turnout was also slow with just 3% out to vote by 11 a.m. increasing to 17% by 4.30 p.m.
A rush to vote after teatime had been expected, by the turnout remained slow around the county.
Those who did vote were keen to make their vote count and there were just 142 spoiled votes overall.
The turnout in The Faythe school, where Minister Brendan Howlin was onces a teacher, finished at 752 (35.8%) and all but one of the boxes there yielded a Yes vote.
Across in Kennedy Park in Wexford town two booths voted Yes, 42-32, 49- 45, while there was a No vote in a further two booths, 77- 47, 54-29, with a 60- 60 divide in Boot No. 2.
St. John's Road showed a decisive Yes vote with only Boot No. 5 bucking the trend, producing a 24-22 No vote.
Across rural North Wexford the yes vote was coming in on the tallies with a few exceptions, including Coolgreany polling 55- 42 in favour of No and Ballyfad 46-23 on the No side. Riverchapel delivered a No vote in two of the three boxes, 6156 and 31-29, with Yes polling 4130 in their number one box.
There was a mixed trend in Gorey. The town's Central School delivered a Yes vote in all but one of its boxes, but Gorey C.B. S. provided a mixed return with a No vote in three of the seven boxes.
Kiltealy was unable to separate the Yes from No delivering a 60- 60 vote, while Bree delivered a narrow Yes vote. In Castlebridge Old School there was a 59-58 No vote in Box No. 1, with Box 3 delivering a decisive 62-36 Yes vote.
Two of the boxes in St. Aidan's School in Enniscorthy showed a No vote. While the turnout was low in St. Senan's, three of the five boxes voted Yes with two boxes giving a decisive No vote, the boxes being No. 3 and No. 5.
One of the most decisive No votes in the constituency was shown in Oulart with a 90- 66 breakdown. As the tallies moved through the district it was the Yes vote that was holding up, with no change in the earlier predicted 55% Yes vote to 45% No.
There was an even divide of the boxes in New Ross Youth Centre with three voting No and the remainder in favour of Yes.
In South Wexford. Kilmore School produced a decisive 68- 48 No vote while Bridgetown Social Centre also had a 31-21 No vote. Barntown came in strongly with a 107- 64 and 52-34 Yes vote, while Fine Gael's Liam Twomey home patch of Rosslare Strand and Rosslare Harbour polled strongly in favour of Yes, with Kilrane having a comfortable Yes, 105-79. The No vote came out narrowly on top in Cleariestown and Rathangan and in Kilmore School polling station 68 voted No while 48 said Yes.