Campaign secures count centre venue

By Maurice Garvey

ADAMSTOWN is a growing town, albeit one that suffered service delays due to the recession, with only about 2,500 homes of the proposed 10,000 homes in the Adamstown Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) built to date.

However, things have started to look up a bit more in recent years, and a new chapter for the town was created on Saturday at Adamstown Community Centre (ACC) – the count centre venue for the Dublin Mid West by-election.

Adamstown 1 compressor

Cllr Liona O’Toole with ACC chairperson Meena Baskarasubraiyanian and her husband Olag Sivanantham

This happened after a successful campaign by local residents, who have also ensured ACC will be designated an official polling station from February 2020.

A key element to all of this is engagement with new voters who have recently moved to the area, according to Meena Baskarasubraiyanian, Chairperson ACC.

“There is an underestimation that a lot of residents here are not Irish nationals, but they are new Irish, and entitled to vote,” said Meena.

“I am new Irish, moved here from India in 2006 and have lived in Adamstown since 2007. Before the last local elections, we had a petition to the County Sheriff’s office, to see if ACC could be used in the local elections. They said it was too late at that time, but they would consider it for the next election.

“Our point is that it is such a big area, and a pity that people have to walk all the way to Scoil Mhuire to vote. We ran two registration evenings, and residents expressed it would be good if there was a local place to vote rather than Scoil Mhuire.”

Independent Councillor Liona O’Toole supported the Adamstown proposal via a motion with South Dublin County Council earlier this year, requesting support for a new polling station in ACC, and a report from the council on the submission by residents.

Cllr O’Toole said: “Although a polling station is a small step towards making Adamstown viable. Much more infrastructure and amenities is needed in the area.”

She noted the town was supposed to have all these structures and public transport links in place from the beginning.

In response to O’Toole, the council said a decision was made to split the Polling District ‘Airlie’ with a new polling station for the Adamstown area.

Turnout at the polls in the Mid West by-election was only 26.6 per cent, yet that still meant over 19,000 votes to be counted.

Meena acknowledges that for most of the new residents in Adamstown, their voting rate is quite low, but with ACC now a designated polling station, it may encourage more people to engage with elections.

She continued: “We were delighted to have our centre used as a count centre, and from February, as a polling station. Our next campaign will be to get people to go out and vote.”

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