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Kare Advocacy Group Encourages People with Disabilities to ‘Check the Register’

Padraig Reilly, Seamus Doyle, Cllr Avril Cronin, Garda Bernard Cloney and David Leigh, speakers at the Voice for Kare voting information workshop

The Voice for Kare advocacy group is encouraging people with intellectual disabilities to make sure they understand their voting rights, ahead of the local and European elections in June.

The Voice for Kare group, which was established in 2008 by Kare service users, held an event to highlight the importance of voting and encourage participants to actively engage in the democratic process.

Attendees from across Kare, which operates services for people with intellectual disabilities in Kildare, west Wicklow and east Offaly, joined the interactive workshop.

Held in Kare’s Blessington service, the session featured presentations from three service users aimed at explaining the process of voter registration and casting ballots, as well as enhancing awareness of civic responsibilities and engagement.

Padraig Reilly opened the event with information about the importance of having the right to vote in Ireland and being able to use it effectively. Seamus Doyle took the group through the details of how to ‘Check the register’ and ensure eligibility to vote.

Padraig Reilly and Seamus Doyle presenting at the event

David Leigh, well known in the Kare community for his interest in the electoral and political systems, then explained the process of casting and counting votes, and how a vote can be intentionally or unintentionally spoiled.

David Leigh takes attendees through the ballot process

Voice for Kare Committee Member, Margaret McGarvey, who attended the workshop commented: “We have to vote, because if we want something and politicians ask if we voted and we say no, they won’t do it.”

The event was also attended by Garda Bernard Cloney and local councillor Avril Cronin, who facilitated lively discussions on the importance of civic engagement.

Cllr Cronin commented: “I was delighted to attend and talk about elections, my role as a county councillor and more importantly hear the views of the Kare service users. It was a brilliant event, with great energy and enthusiasm, going through the election process and what happens at the polling station, as well as a mock election overseen by Garda Cloney.

“I would like to commend the Voice for Kare group for hosting such an important event. We are very lucky here in Ireland to have the right to vote, and it’s vitally important to ensure that everyone over 18 knows that they have the right to vote, that they must be registered to vote, how to vote and that their voice counts.”

Kare CEO Deirdre Murphy said: “Kare is committed to promoting inclusivity and advocating for the rights of individuals with intellectual disabilities. By supporting Voice for Kare to plan and host events like this, we aim to create a more inclusive society where everyone's voice can be heard and valued.”

Voice for Kare created an Easy Read document with information covered in the workshop, which can be downloaded on the Kare website here.


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