There have been calls for Fingal County Council to undertake a major voter registration campaign following the news that over 15,000 people in the Dublin 15 area are not registered to vote.
According to 2016 census figures, there are 86,960 adults in the Dublin West constituency but just 71,475 of these people are registered to vote.
Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger has called on Fingal County Council to undertake a major campaign to increase voter registration in the area.
“We have looked at the most recent census figures and compared them to the register of electors in Dublin 15 and have found that there are 15,000 people of voting age who are not registered to vote,” she said.
“That’s about 18% of those of the population of voting age. This compares to only 1.2% not registered in Dublin South West – a constituency of similar demographics.”
Deputy Coppinger added that there were a number of areas within Dublin 15 that had particularly low voter registration and that she felt that these areas should be targeted in any campaign to boost voter numbers.
“In the Huntstown/Hartstown/Clonee/Ongar area, 4,628 people are not registered to vote,” she said.
“In the Waterville area, 58% of people are not registered while in Tyrrelstown the figure is 35%.
“This is a major cause for concern and poses a major democratic deficit in this area, whereby thousands of citizens are not being afforded the opportunity to vote.
“In the context of an upcoming referendum on repealing the 8th Amendment, a presidential election and other possible referenda, I believe we need an urgent registration drive to improve the numbers of people on the register.”
Deputy Coppinger acknowledged that the Government intended to make it easier to register, including an online registration facility but said that this system would not be in place for the 2017/18 register.
She said that she intended to write to the council requesting that resources be made available to for a registration drive in time for the 2017/18 register.
In response to the issues raised by Deputy Coppinger, a spokesperson for the council said: “We are currently engaged in a registration drive at the moment, having just finished house to house drops throughout the county.
“We are processing the returned forms as they come in and we will only be in a position to know what percentage of people have registered to vote when the draft Register of Electors is published in November.
“We do run promotional campaigns from time to time but, from experience, we have found that they are most effective when there is a reason to register, such as in the run-up to an election or referendum.
“Then we can run an effective local campaign alongside a national campaign.”