Fears that long-planned traffic and security arrangements for the opening ceremony of Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture might prevent city voters getting to the polling stations, have been averted after minor amendments were made last evening to the plan.
When Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced on Tuesday that the election would be held on Saturday February 8, there were gasps at the offices of Galway 2020 as they have planned that upwards of 20,000 people will flood into the city that afternoon for the spectacular opening ceremony, the highlight of which will be at South Park.
In order to allow for the thousands of volunteers and performers and guests to make their way into the site, strict traffic prohibitions had been put in place after months of consultation with gardai and Galway City Council.
Galway 2020 did not envisage that the first Saturday election in a century would be sanctioned by the Government — and there were real fears until last evening that voters in polling stations in and around the city might be affected by the strict security and crowd control arrangements.
However, at a meeting between Galway 2020 and Galway City Council and Gardai yesterday, it was agreed to amend the traffic restrictions in order to allow voters to get to and from the polling station at Claddagh NS between 7am and 10pm.
With the events kicking off in mid-evening, this means that voters will still be going to the polls right through the opening ceremony.
A spokeswoman for Galway 2020 told the Advertiser last night (Wednesday ) that they expect massive crowds to descend on the city after they have carried out their civic duty.
“It seems Saturday February 8 is now a date for everyone’s diary. With the General Election now scheduled to take place on that date, coinciding with the opening ceremony of Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture, we encourage people to make their way to Galway, after undertaking their civic duty. We are excited for what will be a spectacular event.
“Following the announcement of the date of the general election, Galway 2020 has submitted to Galway City Council minor revisions to traffic management plans for the Opening Ceremony to ensure that voters will not be impacted in any way from getting to and from polling stations in the area,” she added.
Meanwhile, members of the public are being urged to check if they are registered to vote for the upcoming General Election on Saturday February 8.
The closing date to apply for inclusion on the Supplement to the Register of Electors is Wednesday January 22. The closing date to apply for inclusion on the Supplement to the Register of Electors as a postal/special voter is Thursday January 16.
In order to assist persons wishing to apply, the Galway City Council will hold a special day of registration for this Supplement for Electors in the city area on Wednesday January 22. Council staff, together with a member of An Garda Síochána, will be available in the offices of City Hall to facilitate those residing within the boundaries of Galway city wishing to lodge applications for inclusion in the supplement.
The Register of Electors 2019 – 2020, which came into force on February 15 2019, is available for public inspection at post offices, garda stations, and libraries in Galway city. It may also be inspected at Galway City Council Offices in City Hall and online at www.checktheregister.ie
Those living in Galway city can email queries to the Register of Electors staff at [email protected], or phone 091-536400.