Ireland’s final general election results will be delayed after the death of a candidate.
Voters are due to go to the polls at the weekend as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael fends off a strong challenge from opposition party Fianna Fáil.
The death in Tipperary is not being treated as suspicious.
Marese Skehan, aged in her sixties, was an Independent candidate and was not among the front-runners for seats. One of her rivals said the home help co-ordinator cared passionately about the plight of the under-privileged.
It is with great sadness that I learnt of the sudden death of Marese Skehan, Cabra, Thurles. Daughter of the late Liam and Mai Skehan.— Jackie Cahill TD (@jackiecahillff) February 3, 2020
I have known Marese all my life. She was in the same class in school as my sister Kay.
Her father had a milk round in Thurles - Cond. #GE2020 pic.twitter.com/RUshbQMiNw
Ms Skehan’s sudden death at home means five seats in the next Dail will not be filled this weekend. Instead, there will be a vote on a later date as nominations have to be reopened.
Leaving one constituency’s places unfilled could complicate efforts to form a coalition government after what is expected to be a fragmented election result.
Tipperary returning officer James Seymour said: “I hereby give notice that I am countermanding, with immediate effect, the poll scheduled to take place in the constituency of Tipperary on Saturday 8th February 2020, following the death of the nominated candidate, Marese Skehan of Cabra Rd, Thurles, Co Tipperary.”
Under elections legislation dating from 1992, there will have to be a vote at a later date in the constituency as nominations will have to be reopened.