By-election date set after SF court triumph
By-election date set after SF court triumph

An impressively strong High Court judgement in favour of Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty has delivered a stunning blow to Brian Cowen’s crumbling regime and forced it to finally hold the long-delayed Donegal South West by-election.

The poll will now take place on November 25th, almost 18 months after the seat became vacant.

However, the renegade regime in Dublin is still refusing to accept that by-elections should be held within 90 days.

The government’s decision to appeal the High Court decision to the Supreme Court was seen as a desperate delaying strategy.

Four by-elections are pending, with the result that the coalition’s majority of three is less than the number of vacant seats in the Dail.

Sinn Fein Dail Leader Caoimhghin O Caolain dismissed the coalition’s claim that they could not hold the by-election because it would have distracted them from the economy.

“That’s nonsense. Is democracy and giving the people their rightful say a distraction? That’s an insult to the people.

“The Government should have held this by-election within a few months of the vacancy, in autumn 2009. It could have held it in early 2010, in spring 2010, in summer 2010. But no. It chose to delay and delay.

“It could have held the by-election when Pearse Doherty first took the case. Again, no. It decided to fight the case all the way using taxpayers’ money.

“So let there be no nonsense about this being a distraction or a drain on Government at a crucial time. This by-election could have been out of the way long ago.”

Mr O Caolain said the government had no mandate for what it has done -- “the bank bailout, NAMA, the savage cuts, the doomed budgetary approach that is going to further depress the economy.

“It has been desperately trying to avoid any chance for the people to deliver their verdict.

“The Government claims to want to appeal this case in order to clarify the issues. That is nonsense. The issues could not be clearer. The judgement is crystal clear.

“The reality is that the Government wants to appeal this in order to forestall citizens in Waterford and Dublin South from taking the same course as Senator Pearse Doherty.”

Senator Doherty, who is now preparing to go the polls in less than three weeks time, said it was an outrage that the coalition government would have the audacity to challenge the recommendations of the High Court ruling.

Mr Doherty, Sinn Fein’s election candidate, is now being widely tipped to secure a historic by-election victory for his party later this month and reduce the government’s majority in the Dail to a single seat.

“Let’s call a spade a spade. This move is about keeping the present government in power,” he said.

“Thursday the 25th is the date set for the Donegal South West by election. Unfortunately the government has chosen a day that will discommode many students studying away from home and those who are working outside of Donegal.

“Given that, I would urge people to get registered as soon as possible. The election is only 3 weeks away. In order that we get the best possible turnout on the day, all those who want to change the pattern of politics in this country and have their voice heard via the polling stations should waste no time in registering.”


At the moment there are 61,935 people eligible to vote in the by-election. If you’re not registered to vote, you have until this Monday (8th of November) to get yourself onto the supplementary register of electors. If you’re over 18, are an Irish or British citizen and live in the constituency, then you’re eligible to vote in the by-election.

Supplement application forms for all categories of voters are available from County and City Councils, Garda Stations, Libraries, Post Offices and on-line at

You have until Monday to get onto the register if you’re not already. If you need to be added to the postal-vote register, you have until tomorrow, Saturday, to apply to Donegal County Council for inclusion on that list.

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