Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (807)

Charlie O'Connor


925 Mr. O'Connor asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if assistance is available to South Dublin County Council to provide wheelchair access to all polling stations in Dublin South-West; and if he will seek details of what is required; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1156/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

As the European and local elections will be held on the same day next June, the local European returning officer will be responsible for holding the polls and the provision of polling stations. The Electoral (Amendment) Act 1996 provides that local authorities in making polling schemes, as a reserved function, shall endeavour to appoint as polling places only areas which will allow a returning officer to provide at each polling place at least one polling station accessible to wheelchair users.

The local European returning officer is required, as far as possible, to provide polling stations which are accessible to wheelchair users; and where this is not possible, to give public notice of all polling stations in buildings which are inaccessible to wheelchair users not later than eight days before polling day. If an elector has difficulty gaining access to the assigned polling station he or she may apply, in writing, for authorisation to vote at another station in an accessible building in the same constituency. A person with a physical disability or illness which prevents them from going to the polling station may apply to vote by post.