People being charged to vote - alleges Coyle

Cllr Gerry Coyle

Cllr Gerry Coyle

Fine Gael councillor Gerry Coyle has claimed that people who are sick or elderly and can't get to a polling station to vote, are having to pay doctors for medical certificates in order to get a postal vote to vote at elections.

Cllr Coyle told the July meeting of Mayo County Council this week, during a discussion on the manager's report: "There is a certain portion of this county who are being charged to vote. If you have an elderly or sick person you have to pay the doctor to certify them as sick to get a postal vote. Is that wrong or right? I am appalled that people are being charged for the right to vote, especially our most vulnerable and sick people.

"Charged by the doctor for the cert and I have the receipts for this charge and I have them from people who have a medical card - this is the most vulnerable people in our society and I want to see what this chamber can do about it.

"It will not be allowed to continue as far as I'm concerned, people fought for the right to vote, they didn't fight for the right to give money to a doctor to certify that they are sick for the right to a postal vote. Not if they have to get that, it should be given by somebody else and the doctors excluded."

The chief executive of Mayo County Council, Peter Hynes, interjected, telling Cllr Coyle that it wasn't an issue for discussion during the manager's report. Cllr Coyle retorted: "It is us discussing elections, I put in my expenses for what it cost me for the election, where do I put in that I paid the money for the two elderly people, is that part of my expenses - is that right for two elderly people to be charged to vote, they might not have voted for me, they voted for someone. I presume that it is the same in every area."

Independent Cllr Johnno O'Malley added: "I know people who didn't vote - because they had to go to the doctor and pay the doctor for the cert, so they didn't go to the doctor for it and this is something that should be changed."


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