The residents of Oakdale Nursing Home in Portarlington made history today by being the first voters from Laois and Offaly to vote in the new Kildare South Constituency in the General Election.
Because of a re-drawing of the constituency boundaries, Portarlington and Gracefield as well as Killenard and Ballybrittas are now in the Kildare South constituency instead of Laois-Offaly.
The very first resident to vote at the Polling Station in the especially convened polling booth at Oakdale was an Offaly woman and Presentation nun, Sr Aine Walsh a native of Durrow near Tullamore.
Speaking after voting Sr Aine said: “I did not realize I was playing a part in making history today when casting my vote, it is always a great privilege to vote.
“I would like to thank all the staff for making it such a nice occasion, everyone was so helpful all the girls and the gentleman for the Council and the Gardai.’
Speaking after the voting, the Director of Nursing in Oakdale, Ms. Avril Finnerty said:
“Our residents love to vote and this voting day was extra special as co-incidentally, the local candidate from Portarlington, Dr Cathal Berry used to call here on visits with our in-house doctor, Fergus McKeagney, some years ago when he was training to become a doctor.
“There was great excitement all week as Dr Cathal, who is such a nice man called in twice to canvass the residents and spent plenty of time chatting with them.
“It probably accounts for the high turnout as close on 80% of our residents voted today.
“There was disappointment among some residents that, they were not voting for familiar names but were pleased that, there was at least one local man to vote for.
“I would like to thank all our staff who were on duty, the Presiding Officer, Mr Michael Murphy and Garda Deirdre Fanning who were present, they were very helpful and most courteous to our residents and made voting such a pleasant experience,” concluded Ms Finnerty.