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Electoral Reform

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 12 June 2018

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Questions (1311)

Clare Daly


1311. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 242 of 31 May 2018, if he will confirm that the Bible should not be on display in polling stations and should only be presented for the taking oaths or affirmations by voters in certain circumstances. [25000/18]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

A copy of the Bible forms part of the essential documents and equipment used by presiding officers at polling stations. All operational arrangements in polling stations, including arrangements for the use of essential documents and equipment, are a matter for local returning officers and in turn for the presiding officer at each polling station.

If a voter is asked by a presiding officer to take an oath or an affirmation, such as, for instance, confirmation of a voter's identity, it is up to the voter to decide which to take. The availability of the bible is simply a measure of administrative efficiency to facilitate the process of taking an oath. An elector may make an affirmation if they object to taking an oath on the ground that he or she has no religious belief or that the taking of an oath is contrary to his or her religious belief.