Concern raised over council understaffing to register voters in Limerick

Fianna Fáil councillor Kieran O'Hanlon.

A TOTAL of 151,044 people are currently registered throughout Limerick to vote in the upcoming local elections on June 7.

Voters will also be asked to take to the polls in Limerick’s mayoral election, European elections, and a referendum on the Unified Patent Court.

Speaking during a presentation on the voter registration process at City Hall, Fianna Fáil councillor Kieran O’Hanlon raised concerns about the shortage of staff to register voters.

“I understand from speaking to the people in that registration area that some of them are working seven days a week, and working evenings to cope with the volume of forms and people registering online,” Cllr O’Hanlon told council members.

“That’s very unsatisfactory. This is not criticism of any individual, but I handed in forms in February and they weren’t on the voting register for the referendum,” Cllr O’Hanlon claimed.

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“There’s hundreds of thousands extra people coming on the register throughout the country and there are thousands extra in Limerick City and County. As councillors, I am certainly finding it difficult. We would traditionally have gotten the final printed register before elections and then there was a supplementary register that came out so you were able to see who was actually registered between then and the closing date,” he explained.

Cllr O’Hanlon went on to say that he wasn’t confident things were running anyway smoothly within the council in getting people registered.

In response, a council spokesperson said that staff “got about 12,000 changes, updates, deletions, additions, between December and the end of February”.

“It did require additional work, but we were ready for that and we pulled in extra people. We got everything on the register for the referendum,” she said.

“We did experience a huge surge for the referendum – the first electoral event in four years – so I expect and hope that took a lot that may have waited until April and May through February and March.

“We have a plan in place to address this and, at the moment, I don’t see why we won’t.”