A MAYO woman was called to report for jury duty in Castlebar this afternoon despite being dead for the past 15 years.
The Trinity term of the Circuit Criminal Court in Castlebar is due to sit today (Tuesday) for the next four weeks with a number of cases listed which will require a jury. A number of people in Mayo have been asked to report to Castlebar Courthouse where they may be asked to serve on a jury including a Westport woman who has been dead for the past 15 years.
“It was stated on the letter requesting my mother to report for jury duty that it is an offence not to report and she may be liable to prosecution. In that case the guards will have to go to her grave where she has been for the last 15 years,” her son, who did not wish to be named told The Mayo News.
The man added that his mother continues to receive polling cards for elections and questioned if the system is susceptible to voter fraud.
“When I walked into my polling station to vote I was not asked to show identification. I don’t know if the two people knew me but I didn’t know them. I didn’t bring my polling card and I wasn’t asked for it. So what could stop someone using my mother’s name to vote,” he said.
When contacted by The Mayo News, Fintan Murphy, the County Registrar, explained that juries are selected at random from the election register supplied by Mayo County Council and his office has no responsibility for who is on the register. He added that it was ‘unfortunate’ that this lady’s name was selected but it is the family’s responsibility to remove people from the register if they are deceased.
Mr Murphy explained that the local authority do check the register every year and names are removed if they believe someone should no longer be on the register. If this is done in error, he adjudicates on whether the person should be added back on the register and in the majority of cases they are.
“Every year, the state spends thousands of euro to remind people to check the register and ensure they remain on it and not taken off in error,” he said. “If someone has died and they continue to receive polling cards, I would advise their family to contact Mayo County Council and ask to have their name removed.”
When asked on the possibility of voter fraud by using the name of a dead person to vote, Mr Murphy said that in his 22 years as a County Register it is not something he has encountered.