General election count location dispute erupts in Kerry

A dispute has erupted in Kerry about the location of the general election count — even before the date of a poll has been fixed.

Sports arenas are not suitable as count centres and alternative venues such as hotels, where hot food could be served, would be preferable, a meeting of Kerry County Council heard.

Tralee councillors insisted the count should be held in the county town.

However the county registrar is insisting it will be in the most suitable venue, and Tralee’s status will not be the chief consideration.

A practice has emerged in Kerry, in recent counts, of avoiding hotels and opting instead for sports centres.

However, some are not suitable due to being too far from hot food outlets, and parking is also a problem, councillors claimed.

Kerry County Registrar Padraig Burke, responsible for organising facilities for general elections and European polls and counts, sought a response from the county council. He had assessed a number of likely locations and advised there were just a few venues suitable for such a large count.

The venue will not necessarily be in Tralee, it was indicated, as the town was not in the centre of the county.

“We are a county constituency now, and any place suitable will be considered. Access and parking as well as catering are considerations,” said Mr Burke.

The Killarney Aura Sports and Leisure Centre, where the last South Kerry counts had been held was “great for swimming” but was sorely inadequate as a count centre, said councillor Johnny Healy-Rae. Located on the Killarney bypass, it offered mostly chocolate bars and, for a good part of the day during the May 2014 local election and European counts, there was “no milk for the tea”, he said.

Listowel-based councillor Robert Beasley said he was very disappointed a count on February 10 for the 2014 Listowel local area poll was being held in Tralee, in the John Mitchels GAA club house, also on a bypass. A Killarney hotel had offered facilities free, he said.

“We were disappointed with the Mitchels in 2014. Sandwiches and coffee are not enough and hot food was needed. To us, the Mitchels was never a success.”

Meanwhile, Tralee Sinn Féin councillor Pa Daly said he would push for the general election count to be held in the county capital.

More on this topic

Water charges 'will be collected'; Joan Burton expected to step down as Labour leaderWater charges 'will be collected'; Joan Burton expected to step down as Labour leader

Independent Alliance say FG will have to agree to 'radical proposals' for a govt by ThursdayIndependent Alliance say FG will have to agree to 'radical proposals' for a govt by Thursday

Talks with Independent Alliance could delay govt formation; SF says FF have 'lost credibility'Talks with Independent Alliance could delay govt formation; SF says FF have 'lost credibility'

Leo Varadkar's govt formation comments 'misleading and self-serving', says Michael McGrathLeo Varadkar's govt formation comments 'misleading and self-serving', says Michael McGrath


Lifestyle

Food news with Joe McNameeThe Menu: Upcoming food highlights

THE health properties of tea have long been advertised. “It maketh the body active and lusty” a 1660 promotion suggested. However, before you dunk your teabag into a mug of steaming water, spare a thought for the environment. Some have polypropylene to help to seal them and it doesn’t decompose.Storm in a teacup: Top 8 loose-leaf teas

Bestselling author Isabel Allende talks to Rowena Walsh about life, grief, and why it’s never too late to fall in loveIsabel Allende: It's never too late to fall in love

Cliffs of Moher Retreat owner Michelle Moroney has written a book on finding self-worth and stepping back from our 24/7 lives. She talks to Marjorie Brennan about the need to unwindMichelle Moroney highlights the need to take stock of our lives

More From The Irish Examiner