Saturday 17 August 2019

GSOC confirm 'public interest investigation' launched into voter registration irregularities in Kerry

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Stock photo

Sinead Kelleher

GSOC have confirmed that they have opened "a public interest investigation" into irregularities of voter registration in Kerry.

This comes after Kerry County Council, who are responsible for maintaining the electoral register, confirmed they have also written to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, about the alleged electoral fraud in the county.

A complaint was made to Killarney Garda Station last week about the matter and Garda sources have confirmed that an investigation is underway.

The allegations centre around the addition of voters to the supplementary electoral register.

In order to be added to the supplementary register, voters have to present themselves to their local garda station.

However, it has been alleged that a tranche of forms in Kerry may have been signed by a garda without electors being present.  The allegations centre around more than 200 votes.

GSOC are to carry out a separate investigation into the claims. In a statement today they confirmed that GSOC has opened a public interest investigation under s102(4) of the Garda Síochána Act, 2005.

This allows an enquiry to be opened into a matter in the interest of public interest even if a complaint has not been made. 

Kerry County Council are assisting gardaí with their investigation but the matter is a criminal matter and not a matter for the local authority.

However, the council have written to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris following a request to do so by Cllr Brendan Cronin who called for Mr Harris to investigate the matter.

The supplementary register of electors is now available to candidates and has added more than 2,700 voters to the electoral register for Friday's local elections.

Kerry TD John Brassil has called for a full  investigation to be carried out to "protect the integrity of the electoral register."

"The integrity of the electoral register is sacrosanct. Procedures should be followed and any question mark around those procedures should be fully investigated," he said.

The electoral fraud investigation comes just days before thousands of Kerry votes take to the polls in the local elections. Kerry County Council estimate the electoral in Kerry to be 117,000 for this year's local elections.

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