Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Questions (136)

Heather Humphreys


136. Deputy Heather Humphreys asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if special consideration will be given to ensure that those currently unemployed will be given the opportunity to take up work at polling stations and count centres for the local and European elections on 23 May; the guidelines that will be issued to returning officers regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14251/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The primary role of my Department in electoral matters is to provide an appropriate policy and legislative framework for a modern and efficient electoral system. Within that framework, local returning officers are responsible for all matters in connection with the actual conduct of elections and referendums, including the selection, appointment and training of polling station and count staff in accordance with the relevant provisions of electoral law.

My Department routinely issues guidance to Returning Officers in advance of each election and referendum. The guidance issued for the European Parliament and local elections being held on 23 May 2014 emphasises that the smooth conduct of polls is dependent on maintaining a cadre of sufficiently skilled and experienced people. Having regard to that overall objective, returning officers are advised to employ competent and efficient persons as polling and count staff and asked to give consideration, where possible, to employing suitable persons who are unemployed, particularly for the position of polling clerk where the responsibilities of the post can be fulfilled under the guidance of the Presiding Officer.