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Council launches electoral fraud inquiry

AN investigation has been launched into suspected electoral fraud in Monaghan.

The probe came after the Irish Independent revealed that seven immigrants were registered to vote at an empty house in Ballybay, which had not been lived in for almost three years.

Their names were added to the supplementary voting list in Monaghan just days before the deadline expired -- and the county council did not have the staff to check them.

In a statement, Monaghan County Council local returning officer Paul Clifford confirmed that he had launched an investigation into the claims.

But there is already growing pressure for the investigation to be widened to take account of further allegations of electoral fraud:



  • There were sightings of "car-loads" of immigrants being brought across the border to Ballybay and then directed to the polling station on election day.
  • There have been more reports of immigrants registered to empty houses in the county, with local politicians unable to ever find anyone living in the locations despite multiple canvassing visits. They said the problem seemed to be "widespread" and "systematic".
  • In an even more serious development, a local businessman discovered that somebody had voted in his name in while he had been on holiday in Spain during the June 5 elections. He contacted Monaghan County Council, who confirmed that his vote had been used in his local polling station in Castleblaney. It is understood he has made a complaint to gardai.


Investigation

The man responsible for looking after the house at the centre of the council investigation in Ballybay has confirmed that nobody has lived there for almost three years -- and that the owner is currently in the US.

Neither of them were aware the house was listed as the address for seven immigrant voters who were added late to the electoral register.

The council has said that all of the voters who were added to the list had provided signed forms which had been stamped by gardai. But it is understood most of the seven immigrants registered to the empty house in 2 Church Street in Ballybay did get to vote.

Sinn Fein Councillor Jackie Crowe said he was concerned by the revelations -- and by the possibility that the election result might be declared invalid.

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