Sligo councillor says Garda investigation necessary to maintain faith in electoral system

A Sligo councillor says a full garda investigation into allegations of postal voter fraud during the last local elections is needed to ensure the integrity of the electoral system is maintained and protected.

Independent Socialist Councillor Declan Bree told yesterday’s meeting of Sligo County Council it was obvious from the figures for postal voters in the Ballymote/Tubbercurry/West Sligo area that there was ‘something rotten and corrupt’ and ‘that the system had been abused.’

Cllr Bree told yesterday’s council meeting that the Sligo/Strandhill electoral area with an electorate of 16,500 had 20 postal voters.

The Sligo/Drumcliffe area with an electorate of 16,000 had 17 postal voters.

But the Ballymote/Tubbercurry area, which also takes in West Sligo, with an electorate of 24,500, had 252 postal voters.

He says applicants for postal votes are required to declare they are resident at an address given.

They also had to provide a medical certificate signed and stamped by a doctor confirming they had a stated physical illness or disability, and unable to go to a polling station to vote.

Cllr Bree said he wanted to make it clear he was not suggesting any wrong-doing by council staff who compiled the postal voter register.

But he said there are allegations that people who were on the list of postal voters included some living in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Briatin and on the continent.

Social media had shown some of them taking part in normal sporting activities, including playing Gaelic football.

Sinn Fein Councillor Chris MacManus said he would hate to have lost the election by a handful of votes when there was ‘something rotten with the process.’

‘We have to get to the botton of his,’ he said.

Meanwhile, Cllr Bree claimed it is clear what had happened.