Gerry Adams: “I just wanted to vote for myself”

The Sinn Féin spokesman in the Irish Times report plays down Gerry Adams’ failed attempt to be included on the live register for the Louth constituency yesterday, due to a lack of evidence of residency on September 1 – which Mark had previously flagged up as a potential problem – despite a late personal appearance at the revision court by the Sinn Féin president.  The report notes 

Mr Adams was not present in the Louth County Council offices in Dundalk yesterday morning when the decision was taken by the revision court, which considers changes to the draft register.

However, he later met county registrar for Louth Maireád Ahern.

The Belfast Telegraph report has the detail

Mr Adams attended the annual revision court in Dundalk yesterday, where decisions are made about applications from people wishing to be added to the electoral register.

His application listed him as a ‘new constituent’ seeking to be added to the register. He gave his address as Ballymakellett, Ravensdale, a very rural area of north Louth on the Cooley Peninsula about 15 minutes’ drive from Dundalk.

But the Louth returning officer Mairead Ahern heard that a field officer had visited the address three times and not found him there. The field officer said there was no answer when he tried to phone the house but neighbours said Mr Adams was due to move in.

Ms Ahern disallowed the application. However, her decision was challenged by Sinn Fein councillor Thomas Sharkey, who alleged she had been inconsistent.

This was because she had allowed Louth Senator Mark Dearey (Green Party) to change his address from Dundalk town to Omeath. He is already on the register.

Mr Adams arrived into the court, which was held in the chamber of Louth County Council, just before 5pm yesterday. He presented Ms Ahern with a letter which it is believed was a declaration that he is now residing in Louth.

He explained that he understood the final date for making the application was November 25 and he had done so after he declared his intention to stand in the next general election. [added emphasis]

However, Ms Ahern said that in order to be included on the live register he would have had to be a resident of Louth on September 1.

It seems that he can still apply to be included on the supplementary register come February 1, 2011. 

But, presumably, the checks on the address by the field officer were carried out after his application was received…