Thursday 23 November 2017

Labour candidate calls Phil Hogan ‘cynical’ for reducing voting hours

Labour's Eoin Holmes
Labour's Eoin Holmes

Fiach Kelly

THE Labour candidate in Meath East has criticised his own Government and Environment Minister Phil Hogan for reducing the voting hours this Wednesday's by-election.

When the writ was moved for the by-election, Mr Hogan announced polling would take place between 8am and 9pm, reduced from the usual polling hours of 7am to 10pm. Mr Hogan said the decision was taken to reduce costs, but it has led to criticism that it will prevent shift workers and commuters from voting.

Speaking during an LM-FM radio debate this morning, Labour's Eoin Holmes called it a "cynical move" by a "very conservative minister".

Fianna Fail says it will stop nurses, gardai and firefighters from voting but Fine Gael's Helen McEntee defended the decision, saying it was a cost saving measure.

Ms McEntee admitted some people will not be able to vote, but said that is always the way in elections.

However, Social Protection Minister Joan Burton says anyone who wants to vote will be able to.

"I think a lot of people in a commuter belt town might prefer that because I know a lot of people commute in and out to Dublin," Ms Burton said in Ashbourne this morning.

"But in practice the people who want will get to the polls, I'm quite confident of that."

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