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Sheamus Greene

‘Dreadful’ security dampens election celebrations

QUESTIONS have been asked about the level of security at the election count after families and friends of candidates were refused entry.
On Friday and Saturday there was a high security presence at Omagh Leisure Centre during the election count, and only those on a pre-approved list were allowed into the centre.
 Those attending were required to walk through an airport style scanner when entering the building, wear armbands, present all belongings to an x-ray machine and carry ID for entering and exiting the building. 
 The reason for the level of security is not known, but families and friends of candidates were not allowed into the centre resulting in quiet and minimal celebrations.
 The atmosphere was flat even when an announcement was made, and Councillor Sheamus Greene said the security measures were ‘over the top.’ 
Mr Greene said, “Any other election that I have been at in Omagh, families were allowed to mingle around. My family were going to come down for when I got elected, and I presume it would be the same with the other candidates, but they were not allowed in. I thought it was a dreadful advertisement for democracy that the public and the candidate’s families were not allowed in.
“ I have sent in a complaint, and asked for the reasons for the security and how much it costs. I thought it left the whole day really dead, and there was no atmosphere because nobody was allowed in even for celebrations.”
A spokesman for the Council said, “The only people who can be present at the count are the candidates, one other person chosen by each candidate, their election agents and counting agents (two per candidate). Candidates were advised in advance of the Count that this applied to the Count Centre, at Omagh Leisure Centre. Candidates had the option to include a family member(s) as either their guest or as a Counting Agent.
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