Varadkar rejects “conspiracy theory” claims over electoral register

The Taoiseach says it is “very encouraging” to see an increase in voters on the register

Varadkar rejects “conspiracy theory” claims over electoral register

Leo Varadkar after last night's Cabinet meeting. Photograph: Eamonn Farrell / RollingNews.ie

The Taoiseach has told Independent TD Mattie McGrath to 'cool the conspiracy theory' about the electoral register ahead of Friday's abortion referendum.

Deputy McGrath and Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibin claim a number of foreign nationals have been registered despite not applying for a vote.

Leo Varadkar said there was no truth to the claims, noting that it was “very encouraging to see a huge number of young people registering to vote in the past couple of weeks.”

Up to 125,000 extra people were added to the supplementary register in the last few months.

Independent TD, Mattie McGrath outside Leinster House, 28-03-2018. Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews

Mr Varadkar was speaking after Deputy McGrath claimed “the register is a mess and people have been put on and put on twice.”

Referencing claims that a French Student was registered to vote despite not applying for the opportunity - or being legally entitled to do so - he called for an official investigation.

“The register is a mess and people have been put on twice,” he claimed. “When are you going to have an investigation? When the votes are counted, is it?”

He also asked the Taoiseach to clarify what he meant when he told the house that, “With the exception of a few postal voters very few people have voted” so far.

Mr Varadkar told the Tipperary TD to “cool the conspiracy theory” and noted that “the people who have voted so far are postal voters, although there is early voting on some islands and also some nursing homes.”

“The allegation that, I think it was a French student, was on the register - I understand that has been refuted.”

He said the increase in voter registration indicates that young people want to have their say, adding that they are “the people who are going to be most affected by laws that we make in relation to the termination of pregnancies.”