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Thursday 22 August 2019

Prisoners tick right box when it comes to voting in elections

Mountjoy had 67pc turnout
Mountjoy had 67pc turnout

There was a far greater turnout by voters registered at Mountjoy Prison in the recent European and local elections than in some of the surrounding areas outside the jail in Dublin.

According to figures provided by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan, there was a 67pc turnout of those prisoners registered to vote at Mountjoy in the European and local elections, along with the divorce referendum on May 24.

Of the 143 prisoners registered to vote at Mountjoy, 96 did turn out to vote.

The turnout was even higher in the female Dochas Centre, where out of 12 prisoners registered to vote, 10 voted - a turnout of 83pc.

Mr Flanagan provided the figures in a written Dail reply to Dublin Central Independent TD Maureen O'Sullivan.

"I am very much heartened by the turnout of registered voters in Mountjoy. The turnout in Wheatfield and the Midlands Prison of registered voters was also high," Ms O'Sullivan said.

"The figures for those prisons show that these prisoners are very much politically aware and the turnout in Mountjoy would be far higher than in some areas outside the prison in that part of the city, where there was a turnout of 30pc at some polling stations."

Mountjoy is the shining light in the Irish prison system as far as participating in elections is concerned, accounting for 74pc of all those who voted across the prison estate.

The figures show that there was a 100pc turnout of prisoners registered to vote at Arbour Hill, where all six registered turned out. Ms O'Sullivan described this as "incredible".

The overall figures for the prisons show that 143 prisoners voted, which makes up 3pc of the 4,664 prisoners behind bars on May 24.

Effort

However, Ms O'Sullivan said that the bulk of the prison population would be jailed for short periods, so prisoners would not feel the need to register to vote.

The turnout in Wheatfield Prison was 46pc of registered voters, with 20 of the 43 voters putting in the effort.

In the Midlands Prison, seven out of eight registered voters turned out, while there was 100pc turnout in Portlaoise - two out of two prisoners.

However, at Cork, out of 363 prisoners behind bars on May 24, not a single prisoner registered. No one bothered to vote at Limerick either, with 333 prisoners.

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