Islands voting in Children's Referendum

Thursday 08 November 2012 23.55
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Sergeant Shane Guinan carries the ballot box to the polling station on Tory Island accompanied by Returning Officer Claire Sharkey and Garda Fran Coyle (Pic: Defence Forces)
Sergeant Shane Guinan carries the ballot box to the polling station on Tory Island accompanied by Returning Officer Claire Sharkey and Garda Fran Coyle (Pic: Defence Forces)
King of Tory Patsy Dan Rodgers was one of the first to vote (Pic: Defence Forces)
King of Tory Patsy Dan Rodgers was one of the first to vote (Pic: Defence Forces)
Sergeant Shane Guinan oversees lift-off of an Air Corps AW 139 from Tory Island (Pic: Defence Forces)
Sergeant Shane Guinan oversees lift-off of an Air Corps AW 139 from Tory Island (Pic: Defence Forces)
Leading Seaman Whoriskey of the Naval Service cast his vote yesterday on the LE Orla off the southwest coast (Pic: Defence Forces)
Leading Seaman Whoriskey of the Naval Service cast his vote yesterday on the LE Orla off the southwest coast (Pic: Defence Forces)

Residents of 12 islands around Ireland have voted in the Children's Referendum.

Islanders off the coasts of Donegal, Mayo and Galway traditionally vote ahead of the mainland to make sure bad weather does not hamper the return of boxes on time for the count.

The Aer Corps brought the ballot box by helicopter to Tory Island, while ferries and boats transported the boxes to other islands.

Earlier, turnout on most islands was reported to have been slow.

However, reports from Inisturk say that that over 50% of the islanders on the register have cast their votes.

The presiding officer said that all of the people who were eligible to vote had done so and the people who had not voted missed the poll because they were on the mainland and could not get back to vote on a week day.

He said the turnout would have been higher if voting was on a Saturday like the rest of the country.

The King of Tory, Patsy Dan Rodgers, was one of the first people to cast his vote.

He said he felt islanders had not been given enough information in advance of the referendum.

Over 1,100 people are registered to vote on the Aran Islands off the coast of Galway.

Almost 200 people are entitled to vote on Clare Island, Inishbiggle and Inishturk off Co Mayo.

Returning officer for Mayo Fintan Murphy said that with high tides and storms forecast, there could be some difficulty getting the ballot boxes back to the mainland when polls closed on the three Mayo islands.

The Children's Rights Alliance said the referendum is not about giving the State more power to intervene in family life but about making sure the child protection service works better.

Meanwhile, former MEP Kathy Sinnott said if the proposed amendments are accepted, it would give control of children and childhood to the State.

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