The Government has today made another move that will prevent many students from voting in the upcoming Presidential Election, according to Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Niall Collins TD. Deputy Collins was commenting after the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan today moved the order for the Presidential election.


Deputy Collins said: “By moving the order on a Tuesday in August, Minister Hogan has effectively denied many students the chance to register for a postal vote.  The vast majority of students are on their Summer break at the moment and have no chance of making it into college to sort out their postal vote within the next two days. Others also requiring their name to be added to the supplementary postal register list on this occasion may also be away at this time.


“The law dictates that those requiring a postal vote must register within two days of the order being moved, which in this case means Thursday of this week.  In the case of students, the process requires them to present to their third level institution and fill out the necessary forms and then go to their local authority to submit those forms. With third level institutions nationwide on Summer recess, it is simply not possible for many students who are away at this time to carry out this process.


“The Government have already ignored the cries of students to hold the Presidential Election on a weekend to allow them to get home to vote. Ógra Fianna Fáil mounted a nationwide campaign urging the Government to move polling day to a Saturday. However, the Government refused. Now it seems they are again refusing to facilitate students by decided to move the order during the Summer holidays.


“Environment Minister Phil Hogan could have waited until next week or the week after to move the order when the academic year was getting underway. The fact that he chose to do it in August instead appears to me to be a deliberate attempt to block students from voting.”