Friday 24 November 2017

Thousands of French go to polls in Ireland

Sophie Jalby from Tarbes queues to cast her vote at the French Embassy in Dublin. Pic: Tony Gavin
Sophie Jalby from Tarbes queues to cast her vote at the French Embassy in Dublin. Pic: Tony Gavin

Gavin White

French people living in Ireland queued to cast their vote in the first round of the presidential election - with a strong preference for pro-European Emmanuel Macron emerging.

There are 8,200 French residents living in Ireland who were eligible to vote yesterday and queues of more than 100 people formed at the French Embassy in Dublin from 8am and in Cork for the first time.

As well as ballot voting there was also the opportunity for proxy voting where residents could vote on behalf of someone unable to attend the voting centre.

Sophie Jalby (24), originally from Turbes, near Lourdes, said she voted for independent centrist Mr Macron in what she described as "tactical voting".

"I went with Macron because he has the biggest chance to be elected in reality," the student told the Irish Independent.

"I have no idea how French living in Ireland will vote otherwise but I am hoping people stay away from Marine Le Pen."

Another Mr Macron supporter, Diane Kennedy (50), originally from Paris, has been living in Dublin for 25 years. She said that she voted for the former economy minister "quite simply for Europe".

Ms Kennedy said she "followed the heart" when choosing between the candidates.

Worried

She said France "has a strong left" but she was worried that the right would pick up "some energy" in the wake of last week's Champs-Élysées attack.

Franck Cappelli (53), originally from Paris, "considered voting for Le Pen" but went for scandal-hit conservative Francois Fillon in the end.

"I know all about the controversy but to be honest it is the best of a bad situation we are in," he said.

"Young people have been targeted by Macron but for me he is just the same as Hollande's government.

"Anything is better than five years of Hollande. In the second round I will decide my vote tactically for sure."

Irish Independent

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