Three constituencies are to use electronic voting in the next general election. The Government has confirmed that the system is to go ahead in Meath, Dublin North and Dublin West. Results are expected to be available within hours of the close of polls.

Environment Minister Noel Dempsey said today that extending the electronic voting experiment to the entire country would cost €25m, which should be recouped in 15 years. Addressing the Association of European Journalists in Dublin, Mr Dempsey disclosed that under the proposed system the results from individual areas or polling stations will no longer be available to political parties or researchers.

He said that as a result of legal advice information will only available at constituency level. The Minister said that the new system would underline Ireland's image as a modern and IT literate country.