Northside residents were sent to Blarney to cast their votes

Northside residents were sent to Blarney to cast their votes

HUNDREDS of people on Cork’s northside were forced to cast their votes in Blarney because their houses were just outside the city boundary.

Councillor Kenneth Collins (SF) said a number of issues in the north west ward left people with difficulties in casting their votes, while others did not receive polling cards.

According to Mr Collins, an estimated thousand people from the wider Fairhill area had to travel to a polling station in Blarney - a distance of over 7km and approximately 40-minute journey on public transport.

Others did not receive polling cards because they had moved house under City Northwest Quarter Regeneration.

Mr Collins said: “The last election for 2014 to 2019, these houses were in the county. Homes in Knocknacullen, Knocknaheeny, Fairfield Meadows, Fairfield Lawn and Willow Bank were affected. All these houses are in the Fairhill area but they had to travel to Blarney to vote.

“If a person doesn’t have their own transport, its a hassle to get out to Blarney. I reached out to the city council to get this changed. We have Na Piarsiagh down the road from these houses and that could have been the polling station.

“It’s just unfortunate that they changed the boundaries but they left the polling stations as is for this election,” he added.

Turnout in the North West ward as a whole was just over 42.1% but much lower in areas around Knocknaheeny and Fairhill.

“In Farranree the turnout it was 31%, which is very poor. More people would vote if it was easy for them to get to a polling station. People are fed up and sometimes they can be disengaged and that lessens turnouts.

“People in the defence forces that did not get their polling cards and others in Knocknaheeny who had been moved because of regeneration were not on the register.

“The regeneration project will move their gas, ESB, water and other services but not their right to vote, that’s crazy,” he added.

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