Polling station review needed

ALaois County Coucillor is calling for a review of the polling stations in the county to take into account the new electoral areas which will form following next year’s local elections.

ALaois County Coucillor is calling for a review of the polling stations in the county to take into account the new electoral areas which will form following next year’s local elections.

Councillor John Joe Fennelly said he has placed a notice of motion on the agenda for the July meeting of Laois County Council to commence the review process for polling stations in the county.

Cllr Fennelly is one the councillors most affected by the boundary changes which were announced last month. As Abbeyleix joins with Portlaoise, people who voted for Cllr Fennelly in Mountrath, Castletown and Durrow areas of the Borris-in-Ossory electoral area will no longer be able to do so.

As people are aware the the five old electoral areas in Co. Laois have now been amalgamated into three new areas.

Cllr Fennelly said this has resulted in some Polling Stations now being included in new electoral areas.

“This obviously has implications for where some people vote in future elections,” he said.

Cllr Fennelly continued: “In particular the most obvious change that should be considered as part of a review is to allow those people in the Portlaoise Electoral Area who live in Roskelton, Ardlea, Coolnacartan and Ballynamuddagh to vote in the Polling Station in Raheen from here on in.”

Up to now people in those areas had to travel into Portlaoise town to vote and was a round trip in some cases of up to 15 miles.

Consequently some people found it difficult to go into Portlaoise town to vote.

“Now that the Raheen Polling Station which was formerly in the Borris-in-Ossory area is now been transferred to the Portlaoise Electoral Area, people in these areas should now be allowed to vote in their nearest polling station in their electoral area which will now be Raheen,” he said.

Councillor Fennelly has called for Laois County Council to commence a review of the scheme of polling districts and polling stations and to consult with County Registrar on this matter such that the new scheme can be finalised by the Council in the coming months.

“There may be other areas that need some changes across the County and these can also be considered as part of this review process,” he said.

Under the reforms, the nu mber of councillors in Laois will be halved. They will be reduced from 43 counillors presently, down to 19.