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Plan B in place at count centre to avoid Midwest concert clash


Anton McNulty

ARRANGEMENTS are being put in place to move the count of the Mayo constituency to a different room in the TF Royal Hotel to avoid a clash with a music concert should the count go into a second day.
The election count is due to take place in the Royal Theatre of the TF Royal Hotel in Castlebar on Sunday, February 9, but the following evening, it is also to host the Midwest Radio’s Night With the Stars concert.
In the last General Election in 2016, only poll topper Enda Kenny was elected after he exceeded the quota and was elected on the first day of the count. The remaining three successful candidates had to wait until the following day to be elected. Michael Ring had to wait until the ninth count before his election was confirmed, while Dara Calleary and Lisa Chambers were both elected on the tenth count.
The Midwest concert is expected to attract thousands of music fans to the Royal Theatre on Monday evening and cause logistical nightmares for the Returning Officer Fintan Murphy and the management of the hotel if the count runs into Monday.
In the event of a clash, it has been arranged that all the votes are to be moved to the smaller Ruby Room adjacent to the Royal Theatre where the count will continue. There is limited space in the Ruby Room and it is expected that the number of party officials, tallymen and supporters will be restricted.
This General Election in Mayo will be historic, as it will be the last time the island communities of Inishbiggle, Clare Island and Inishturk will vote before the rest of the constituency.
The practice of off-shore islanders voting a day ahead of the rest of the country was due to be scrapped, but the bill allowing island communities to vote on the same day as those on the mainland was not be passed. Instead, island communities will now vote on Friday, February 7, 24 hours ahead of the rest of the country.
Polls for the mainland will open on Saturday, February 8, at 7am and will close at 10pm. The count is due to begin on Sunday morning and the final tally figures will be expected to be available around Sunday lunchtime.

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