GE News: Election to take place on February 26th
The deadline to register is Tuesday February 9th
Well, there you have it. After weeks of speculation, we now know the General Election will take place on Friday February 26th.
That means, if you’re not on the register to vote, you need to do it now! To get on the supplement to the register or change your vote to a different address, your application needs to be received by your local authority by Tuesday February 9th. To get it in on time, you should send it off before the end of this week, or call into your local authority in person with it before Tuesday. So get on it!
Furthermore, if you’re eligible for a postal vote, your application needs to be received by Friday February 5th. Which means, you should send it off today, Thursday February 4th, or call into your local authority with it yourself before tomorrow! Find out more on how to register here and find the addresses and contact details of your local authority here.
Students are registering to vote in their droves!
Yesterday, there were queues at Garda stations around the country. As part of a Union of Students Ireland (USI) registration drive, students from Maynooth University, NUI Galway and IT Tralee were all registering to vote.
According to the USI, they have registered 80,000 students to vote over the past two years. If you want to be one of them, register to vote by Tuesday!
Who is Michael Lowry and why is everyone talking about him?
You might have heard a lot about Michael Lowry in the news this week. Lowry is an independent TD who was once a member of Fine Gael. Lowry resigned from Fine Gael amid allegations of “irregularities” in 1997, and was barred from standing for the party again. The findings of the Moriarty Tribunal found “beyond doubt” that Lowry was a tax evader and had accepted payments from businessman Denis O’Brien. Lowry played an influential role in awarding the state contract for Esat Digiphone to O’Brien, making O’Brien one of the richest men in Ireland.
Despite this, Lowry remains popular in his Tipperary constituency and has retained his seat as an independent ever since.
There is now speculation that no party will win enough seats to go into government, and therefore, will need to enter into a coalition with various independents, potentially including Michael Lowry. While most parties have stated they would not go into government with Lowry, speculation remains rife…
How many women are running for election?
This is the first general election in Ireland to involve gender quotas. This means that political parties must run at least 30% female candidates, or else their State funding will be reduced by half. This is as a means to increased gender equality and female representation in Irish politics
Out of the 489 candidates running for election, 149 of them are women, making just over 30%. The party with the highest percentage of women running is Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit at 41.94%, while Renua are the lowest at 28.57%. The only constituencies with fewer than 2 female candidates running are Meath West and Limerick County.
Campaigners are going digital
This week saw numerous candidates flexing their digital skills and uploading some choice campaign videos onto the internet. This one from Kerry independent candidate Michael Healy-Rae was especially memorable, which includes the quote “Make your vote and pray that he goes all the way, he’s flat to the mat with his black cap and there’s no time for tae”.
Earlier this year, Healy-Rae caused controversy by suggesting that drink-driving should be permitted in rural areas.
Fine Gael support student loan scheme
Fine Gael have published their draft education manifesto. In it, they pledge that there will be no initial fees upon entering third level education, but that students would have to pay back their fees, once their income reaches a certain level. Last week, the Social Democrats pledged to reduce student fees by €1000, while the Labour party pledged to reduce them by €500.
Posters are going up
Overnight, election posters went up all over the country. Some over-eager candidates are facing heavy fines however, for putting up posters before the election was called...
Joanna Tuffy's election posters going up tonight in Lucan. Govt TD's clearly breaking the protocol on GE posters. pic.twitter.com/CcujSlXb22— Gino Kenny (@Ginosocialist) February 1, 2016
For more general election news and updates, keep an eye on SpunOut.ie