Thursday 14 December 2017

At 101, Louise braves rain to 'do her duty' but bad weather puts plenty off

Caroline Crawford and Majella O'Sullivan

SHE has voted more often than most people in the country -- but 101-year-old Louise Phelan insists she has no interest in politics.

Ms Phelan cast her vote in the fiscal treaty referendum yesterday in Loughrea, Co Galway, after her daily walk to the shops for her groceries.

Despite her grand age, Ms Phelan was determined to vote, something she has done religiously since the 1930s.

"I think it's important, otherwise we wouldn't know where we were. I go out every morning regular at 10 o'clock and I voted after picking up the paper and a few bits and pieces," she said.

However, despite witnessing a lifetime of elections and referenda, the costume maker, who worked on 'Dr Zhivago' and 'My Fair Lady', insisted she had little interest in the outcome.

"It's your duty to vote and I always have but I'm not very interested in politics or religion," she said.

"I have done my duty and may the best side win," added Louise who returned to Loughrea in 1986 with her husband John, who sadly died of a heart attack the same year.

"I live alone. My daughters both live in England but they phone me two or three times a week to see if I'm still here," she laughed. Now her family is planning a big party to mark her 102th birthday in September.

Another seasoned voter who went to the polls yesterday was 100-year-old Jackie 'The Farmer' O'Sullivan at Lissivigeen National School outside Killarney, Co Kerry.

Mr O'Sullivan reckoned he had taken part in more than 50 elections and referendums and he made no bones about how he was voting either.


"I voted Yes," he told the Irish Independent. "I thought it might be the best out of a bad lot."

However, don't ask him twice. The only times Mr O'Sullivan hasn't exercised his right is when he's been asked twice to vote on the same referendum.

He also revealed that he voted a couple of times when he was underage, due to an error in the register.

"There were four boys and five girls in the house and my father was filling in the form and put my name on it even though I wasn't 21 yet, the age you had to be to vote," he said.

Irish Independent

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