Arrangements for visually Impaired voting must be made

Arrangements for visually Impaired voting must be made

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East Clare Sinn Féin spokesperson Mags O’Connor has called for immediate steps to vindicate the constitutional rights of visually impaired voters to vote independently by secret ballot.

In light of last week’s High Court judgement which found that the State has a duty to provide arrangements allowing visually impaired people to vote privately and without assistance in elections and referendums where reasonably practicable and economically effective.

Mags O’Connor said: “The definitive results of Census 2011 show that 8.7% of people suffer from blindness or a serious vision impairment.

“Legislation has been on the statute books for over 20 years which would allow for the introduction of regulations to extend to visually impaired voters the right to vote independently by secret ballot, yet this right has been ignored.

Mechanisms have been available for some time now to allow those with a visual impairment in Clare to vote independently. But these issues were not given the attention they required,” she said.

“It is a sad reflection on the respect shown to people with disabilities that 10 years after we signed the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, an Irish citizen has to go to the High Court in an effort to vindicate his right to vote by secret ballot.

Clare County Council should now make provision to introduce their mechanisms to permit secret voting for visually impaired voters without delay,” Ms O’Connor added.

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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