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Is the real question: Why did Donegal vote No? Or...
Reaction to Myles Dungan's programme
Fiachra Ó Luain has been seeking answers about how it was possible that 3,000 of his first preference votes could have allocated to Mr. Declan Ganley. On 0.000175% of Ganley's budget he received 6,510 first preferences in the June European Elections. As a resident of Donegal he offers his perspectives on the recent RTE radio show investigating why Donegal voted No.
Inishowen’s Independent candidate in last June’s European Fiachra Ó Luain welcomed Myles Dungan’s efforts to air the many reasons why people in Donegal voted No to Lisbon 2. Fiachra is glad that some of the negative stereotypes about Donegal were challenged by the audience and recommends Donnybrook journalists to be more aware of the internationalist legacy of Donegal sons like Peadar O Donaill, which would be another factor behind the triumph of the No vote in Donegal. However Ó Luain thinks that a more relevant subject of a national journalistic investigation would be to find out why the rest of the results in Ireland seems to indicate that the majority of people voted Yes this time.
Ó Luain wrote to Conor Kavanagh of RTE at the beginning of the week to offer contributions to the RTE programme that was aired from Donegal Town on Thursday. He did not receive a response, however Ó Luain concedes that seeing that Kavanagh is the same Today with Pat Kenny producer who said last Spring that he believed that there should be two tiers of candidates, while relegating the two least well-resourced European candidates to the audience, was probably not the right person to communicate with regarding perspectives on two-tier Ireland.
What Mr. Ó Luain wanted to draw attention the fact that prior to the second Lisbon referendum Donegal’s media had aired his concerns regarding the actual counting of votes, which he learned from his experience as a European candidate, cannot be taken for granted to be accurate.
Liam Porter from the Inishowen Independent, Eamonn McCann of the Hot Press and Derry Journal, Sue Doherty, Caroline Farrar and Paddy Toye of the Donegal Democrat had all written articles urging people to vigilant of the counting process having received a press release from Ó Luain. Following these articles and the 2400+ hits on his ‘Vote Misallocation in Ireland’ video that can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/fiachraforeurope, the Carndonagh-based former Euro candidate received tip-offs that the postal vote system would be used to augment the Yes vote nationwide. He and Ms. Amanda Slevin personally monitored the returning of the postal votes for Donegal South West and North East which came to a total of 606 valid votes. It is believed that similar vigilance did not occur in other counties.
On the day of polling Ó Luain received a phone call from a member of the RTE staff who, when he told her the turn-out by midday in Carndonagh, said that it seemed on par if not above the national average turnout. However since then it has been claimed that the Donegal turnout was at least 5% below the national average. Ó Luain is now concerned that indeed the postal vote system was abused in other counties as it is one of the only rational explanations for the discrepancy between Donegal and the rest of Ireland.
“We entrust the integrity of the electoral system is beyond the reach of the same corrupt politicians and civil servants we stand shaking our fingers at over expenses? In Ireland it seems like a taboo subject, however from what I have seen and learned the electoral system abuse is seen as fair game by those who continue to rip us off in every other way. It would not surprise me to learn that the government and opposition parties may have turned a blind eye to the deliberate bending of the rules regarding Lisbon 2.” Ó Luain said this week.
Earlier this week Ó Luain wrote for a fifth time to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Mr. John Gormley and to all members of the Dáil and Seanad requesting full co-operation with an investigation into voting irregularities. He has also written to President Václav Klaus and the staff of Prague Castle regarding the possibilities of postal vote manipulation in the recent referendum as well as the flagrant breaching of electoral protocol that is evident from the now famous ‘Irish Referendum Count at Cork City Hall’ video on YouTube that has had more than 20,000 hits in the past fortnight.
(Letters to Minister Gormley, President Klaus and the Sectretary General of the OSCE as well as Hot Press and Donegal newspaper articles available from email@example.com or 086 3193567)