Good Book Bad Placement



Eoin writes:

Spotted at the Rathgar Church (specifically a meeting room just behind the church). At the desk where they check your name on the register I noticed that there was a copy of the Bible on the desk. IS this a sneaky attempt at convincing people at the last minute to vote no, or is this the norm?

J writes:

When I went to the polling station this morning in Terenure (presentation primary school) there were New Testament bibles on all the tables where you register. This doesn’t seem to be normal as they weren’t in other stations. I asked about it but didn’t ask that they were removed which I regret now as it’s weird and might affect home some people make a last minute decision. Any chance you could throw this up to see if someone else can ask about it and maybe get them removed?


Related: Explained: Why There May be A Bible In Your Polling Station Today (Paul Melia,



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174 thoughts on “Good Book Bad Placement

  1. Scaredtogopublic

    Jesus Christ.

    They’re there so that if these fools don’t bring ID they can swear that they are who they say they are.

    Feckin liberals. Always whinging about something.

    1. ReproBertie

      Just how many people are voting for the first time?

      “maybe get them removed?” Will you grow up.

    2. newsjustin

      Can you do that? Is that what they’re for?

      I wouldn’t be too shocked to find copies of the bible/new testament in a church hall or convent school though.

      I saw an alphabet in the classroom that I voted in. They had put the letter N and the letter O next to each other it. I’m worried that will make people vote No.

    3. Mister Mister

      Yip, have been there every time I voted. As said, it’s so you can swear on the bible you are who you say you are, which is quite quaint these days.

    4. Medium Sized C

      Also, I suspect that you are bullplopping on the swear on the bible bit.

      It is not an adequate proof of identity.

      1. newsjustin

        How did you forget your polling card 3 times in a row? You’d think you’d have learnt the first time.

        1. ReproBertie

          I never bring my voting card as you don’t need it. You just need ID or an ability to swear on the bible.

      1. ReproBertie

        The provision is contained in Section 111 of the Electoral Act 1992.

        “They can also be asked to swear an oath to that effect, using the aforementioned bible for those of a religious persuasion, or make a declaration.

        The oath reads: “I swear by Almighty God (or, ‘I do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm) that I am the same person as the person whose name appears as AB (given name) on the register of electors now in force for the constituency of…..and that I have not already voted at this election, and that had attained the age of 18 years on…..”.

        If a person refuses to take the oath or make the affirmation they are not permitted to vote.”

        From the Indo link I posted below.

        This is farcical. What next? The pencil I had to vote with was tied to a piece of string! Was this to restrict movement and prevent it reaching the Yes box?

          1. Mani

            I applaud the effort, I really do, but your comeback intimates that you stuck your knob in my ma’s coffee table. Which you may have done. If the coffee stains looked like Ronan Mullins.

          2. newsjustin

            Your Ma and I are into some crazy stuff. She, the coffee table and have had some great times.

          3. Mani

            And you rushed the next comeback with a little typ-o, diminishing the delivery slightly. Now, i’ll give you a head start on the next one:

            ‘Sorry, your ma was distracting me by….’

            Good man.

          4. newsjustin

            Thanks Mani. I know when I’m beat. You’re the real king of internet banter.
            (Your Mum and I are so proud…..)

      2. the good helen

        my hand melted last time I had to swear on the bible…. probably shouldn’t have shouted F**CK out loud when I had my hand on it, but I’m a very literal person.

      1. ReproBertie

        Only if challenged and you don’t have to swear on the bible if you’re a non-believer. You can make a declaration but bear in mind that there is a garda present and, given how rarely this happens, you might just draw their attention on an otherwise boring duty.

      2. newsjustin

        Not to confirm your ID I guess. More to promise that your are who you say you are. There seems to be an alternative “declaration” for those who don’t want to swear on a bible….according to ReproBertie’s link.

  2. Mikeyfex

    A friend of mine mentioned this on facebook this morning. They’re there for people without IDs aren’t they? Which is bad enough. No need for them to be on display though.

    1. ReproBertie

      I have to pass a church to get to the polling station. Could they maybe erect screens around it so that I don’t have to see it and feel the old Catholic guilt?

    2. Medium Sized C

      If its true, and I’m horrified if it is, then this is a massive problem.

      It means that I can easily socially engineer my way into voting multiple times.
      All I have to do is have the name and address of someone who votes at that station, walk in swear on the bible that I am he and I can take his vote.

      1. rotide

        You’d need to socially engineer up a voting card with his name on it as well.

        Not impossible mind you

  3. Perry Throne

    Get over it: It’s to swear proof of identity in case of any doubt, just like swearing to tell the truth in a court of law. Is there a non-religious alternative on the witness stand in Irish Courts?

    1. Medium Sized C

      Have you proof of this?
      Because if its true then it is quite literally a massive voter fraud exploit.

        1. jeremy kyle

          Can’t be that simple? That’s ridiculous. How about a copy of Star Wars so I can swear Yoda…

      1. Hank

        Not really. You do know Proof of Identity and a Polling Card are 2 separate things?
        It’s still hilariously quaint though

        1. Medium Sized C

          I do.

          I also know that you don’t need a polling card to vote.
          But it seems like people are saying you need a polling card to make an affirmation?
          Which I suppose is marginally better.
          Being that it would be a more difficult to obtain another persons voting card.

      2. Cian

        Remember – getting caught running this exploit has a non-trivially high chance, and will come with a jail sentence. And not everyone has any form of photo ID.

        So how else would you deal with people who don’t own photo ID?

    2. d4n

      Except in court they know who you are, so rather than ‘just like’ it’s ‘completely different’.

    3. PP

      Yes, you can affirm. It’s not just for atheists – some religions don’t allow swearing. Quakers, for example.

      There has been a bible in the polling station every single time I have voted, in three different constituencies, over the last 25 years.

    4. The Bird in the Box

      you can affirm instead, but they tend to reach for the bible by default, or ask the judge if it’s ok to affirm. I spend a lot of time in court as an expert witness, it’s never been an issue but it would be nice to be asked how I’d like to swear, rather than it be assumed I’ll use a bible

  4. J

    Thery’re not in most stations. Given the churches stance on it it’s outrageous that they’re on full view. Ask that they are removed and they will be.

  5. rugbyfan

    This is all getting a bit fupping nuts here!

    Eoin, There are loads of books/ websites on conspiracy theories. take I suggest you go there instead of adding to the mayhem!

  6. droid

    Never ever seen a bible in a polling station before – though Im not sure they have any in Finglas.

    1. d4n

      I’m gonna carry a bible from now on, that’s a mad handy version wouldn’t bother, them bible books take longer than game of thrones, that Jehovah fella needs to dump all the side projects and get the damn thing finished.
      He’ll probly die before he finishes it, happens all the time with them epic fantasy sagas.

  7. voting_today?

    On each of the tables in the polling station on the Howth Rd, Marino. Placed in the middle of the table and my ballot paper placed on top. I asked and they said they rarely are used but required to be there. If they are rarely required why so are they in the middle of the table and each persons ballot card being placed on top? If they are rarely used shouldn’t it be put to the side somewhere?

    1. ReproBertie

      The referendum results doesn’t count unless each ballot paper has been blessed by having it touch a bible.

      Don’t you know anything about democracy?

      1. yrtnuocecnareviled

        I brought
        The preamble to the Irish Constitution begins: “In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred,
        We, the people of Éire,
        Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,..”

          1. PaddyM

            “Career” is dignifying it, I think.

            “Attention-seeking prat” is the description I’d use. And both sides have those in abundance.

    1. sickofallthisbs

      Agree. I can’t wait for this referendum to be over so that they can stop being so sanctimonious and pushy about their agenda. Oh wait …

  8. rotide

    Wasn’t there this exact same discussion here after the last GE? Or maybe it the presendential election.

  9. Eoghany

    This is absolutely going to sway some people into voting no. They should be out of sight. Catholic guilt will definitely play a part here.

    1. rotide


      Most polling stations are within sight of a church as well, that should be changed. Probably should take the angelus off the air for a day or two beforehands, that will sway people as well. Also, the church bells shouild have clappers removed so the sound of the bells won’t sway opinion.

      1. Eoghany

        Rugbyboy, go easy on Rotide. They’re entitled to their view as much as anyone else. Ya cretin!

    1. Robert

      Last I heard the Pope, the ultimate authority on what is and is not Catholic (Papal infallibility is still a thing right?) said gays were okay …

      1. newsjustin

        Papal infallibility only refers to a very particular set of circumstances where the pope is speaking about very specific matters and, more or less, says “I’m saying this with papla infallibility lads.”

        It doesn’t mean everything that comes out of a Pope’s mouth is infallible. That’s not to take away from the jist of your point – but people really, really misunderstand papal infallibility.

    2. Cup of tea anyone?

      And not a mention of the Childer in that. But sure does the constitution not already go against gods teaching on beating your wife and keeping slaves. I am pretty sure I saw a globe in a school that goes against gods teachings that the world is flat and has four corners.

    3. sickofallthisbs

      Meanwhile in planet preachy an internet warrior criticizes people for voting No.

      Ten thousand spoons …

  10. Experienced voter

    I used to work as a presiding officer in a polling station and the bible comes as part of your “pack”- the pack containing the ballots, the stamp, the pencils, the voting list etc. As has already been stated it is for people to swear they are who they say. Every polling station has one- required to. do you also object to the placing of a bible in a court room (to swear on?)
    And as far as i remember I think it is supposed to be on the table- or else in sight. can i remind you that the vast majority of polling stations are in schools and last time i checked most of the schools in ireland had a catholic ethos- do you reckon the crufix in the school hall might sway a voter at last min?

    1. Sadface

      I would certainly like to see Bibles removed from courtrooms.. I mean if you are going to have a peice of Fiction in,at least pick something good.

  11. newsjustin

    Interesting tweet from Marion Keyes.

    Begs more questions than it answers though. Should report it to the polling station staff or Gardaí if she thinks something dodgy is happening.

    1. Medium Sized C

      Why raise potential electoral offences with the gardai when you can tell Twitter how emotional you area about it.

    2. Jane

      Yes, she suggests assistance but doesn’t clarify the nature of it. Is he helping them out of a car or taking the pencil off them and doing their writing?

      1. newsjustin

        Well this is it –

        – is he in the booth with them?
        – is he voting for them?
        – is he saying “Mary, vote No”
        – is he checking which way they voted?”
        – is he interfering with the ballots or ballor papers?”
        – is he canvassing outside/inside?

        or is he just there accompanying someone who asked him. If so, how long is there? Is he maybe voting himself?

        Or did Marion see a priest near a polling station and loose the hear? I would normally say, trust your gut instinct. But having seen people go crazy over a bible here, nothing would surprise me.

        Bottom line – if it’s dodgy report it.

        1. Sadface

          I doubt that the Pesiding Officer would be allowing anyone to “help” with voting,Priest or no Priest..
          Why didnt the original poster say something in the Polling Station?

          I think Bibles have no place there,or in Courtrooms btw..

      1. newsjustin

        See my post above.

        Depends what you mean by helping. Marion is the only one claiming to know which way these people voted.

        1. Medium Sized C

          He is representative of an organisation which advocated a side in the referendum.
          He shouldn’t be there.

          It’s every bit as bad as…say…Miss Panti “helping” oul wans to vote.

          1. Mikeyfex

            Except that would be widely lauded and someone who complained would be…what? What would they be??

          2. newsjustin

            Helping is fine – interfering is not. Whether that’s Panti or anyone else. That’s why I say it begs more questions than it answers.

    3. rotide

      Kinda does beg questions. Did he round up similar like minded people and help them get to the polling station? I have no problem with that, nor should anyone.

      Is he grabbing likely looking suspects and trying to persuade them to vote a certain way inside the polling station? That’s highly illegal and should be stopped.

      In the context of this thread i’m inclined to think its the former and she should shut the fcuk up and round up some elderly yes voters and help them get to the station.

      1. Medium Sized C

        In a subsequent tweet she described him as being “thick as thieves” with the electoral officers.

        One should not be allowed within the polling station if one is not actually casting ones own vote and is a representative of an organisation that advocates a position in either referendum.

        1. Cian

          So, no party representatives to check one side or the other isn’t cheating in general elections?

      2. rotide

        What does ‘Thick as thieves’ mean? Could it be a priest who recognises his parishoners?

    4. Robert

      To me it smacks of canvassing, and this is not allowed within 50m of the polling stations, or something like that.

      1. newsjustin

        It certainly smacks of canvassing the way Marian has reported in her 2/3 140 character tweets.

        Trouble is, I’m not sure how much we can take as factual from that.

      2. newsjustin

        MK has now tweeted to say that the Returning Officer rang her back to tell her he’s gone. He was there to vote and knew people there so was chatting.

        Perhaps he should have had the chat outside. Or perhaps MK needs to calm herself down and not be seeing DaVinci Code stuff all over the place.

    5. Skeptical O'Hare

      Interesting alright, and in the race to be morally superior, kind of ageist too. I’m open to correction but as far as I know “ancient” people are entitled to be assisted by “lurking” priests to the polling booth in the same way “ancient” people are entitled to be assisted by their gay sons and daughters to the polling booth, in the same way that anyone of any age is entitled to be assisted by anyone of any race/religion/political affiliation/etc. to the polling booth.
      Marion’s subsequent tweets are equally hilarious: “The returning officer just rang me back – the priest is gone. He was ‘just there to vote’ but knew some of the people there, so was chatting”.

      1. newsjustin

        She goes on to muse on how difficult it is to challenge priests.

        The priest is probably gone for his lunch none-the-wiser that his chat with Mary and Dave has rocked the foundations of our democracy in such a manner.

        Her first tweet seems to be just an outright fabrications so – “assisting his ancient flock to vote No”

        1. Skeptical O'Hare

          Maybe the polling station was a school and the priest was just doing some routine lurking and forgot there was a referendum today.

        2. rotide

          He may well have organised some means of gettiing his parishoners to the polls.

          If Panti did the same, there’d be celebrations and rightly so. Enabling people to vote is a good thing.

    6. Weldonihio

      The Keyes tweet is ridiculous. Is the priest going into the booth with them to see how they are voting, or just helping them to the centre.

  12. Owen C

    This is perhaps one of the stupidest threads we have yet to receive on BS. And that’s really saying something.

    1. rugbyfan


      We are worse for adding/responding to it!

      Who is the greater fool, the fool or the fool who followed!

      1. rugbyfan


        Eoin is sorry he posted now!

        Make sure you vote in the election too….equally as important!

    1. Medium Sized C

      If I were broadsheet, I would ammend the post with a definition of the word scaremongering.

    2. Rowsdower

      I feel sick – there’s a GAY PERSON lurking in the Dominican Road polling station, assisting his hipster flock to vote YES. Is this allowed?

  13. the good helen

    in fairness I know what I am voting, most people who are voting YES are very much decided on, going into a polling station and seeing a bible isn’t going to make me suddenly chance my point of view. I’d merely use it to lean on and then once maybe even a little do a little scribble or doodle on the front of it and go home. Inside I’d be smiling…. ohhhh would I be smiling. ahem. enough said… move along, nothing to see here.

  14. newsjustin

    Latest Tweet from Marian:

    “If I misinterpreted the priest’s behaviour, I wholeheartedly apologise. I’m grateful he finished his chatting and left the polling station.”

    She’s currently being mobbed by followers telling her she did the right thing.

      1. newsjustin

        I’m shocked C. Shocked to the core of my being.

        As you were earlier in the thread when you thought the bibles were conspiring against you!

    1. rotide

      saw that, I assumed he’s not actually a priest on account of him calling someone a fecker

  15. bisted

    …personation is where an individual attempts to cast a vote fraudulently…it only becomes a crime when a person is challenged and continues to swear an oath or make an affirmation. No crime is committed if the person challenged walks away when challenged. Personation is believed to be widespread in the North on all sides to the extent that it neutralises the effect on outcomes.
    The existence of bibles as part of the voting paraphernalia is another vestige of the link between church and state that some of us would like to see eliminated. For me, the best outcome from this referendum will be a win for the yes side and that the catholic church will go ahead with it’s threat to discontinue facilitating the civil solemnising role.

  16. nellyb

    Bibles are all over the place at any time. They are in hotel rooms – I doubt it stopped people from having wild parties or affairs in these rooms.
    Nah, we should just trust people more.

    1. nellyb

      – I do not compare todays referendum with wild hotel parties btw :-), but if you come up with a few good ones on that – please don’t hold back and share :-)

  17. PPads

    There are a higher number of priests than in the ‘flock’ who are gay. Now and again I have expected on or two of the camper ones to break out into a show tune during mass. No one knows how they will vote but I doubt if it will be No because they would tend to be on the more liberal side of the church.

    1. scottser

      there will be many a priest who’ll get into their tights, crack open the altar wine and stick on ‘jesus christ, superstar’ tonight. and proper order too.

    2. PPads

      Just one other point on priests. They are not the ones spouting academic bullsh|it about what the ideal family is. They work on the ground with the people in their parishes so are well aware of the many forms a family can take. You might be surprised at how many of them are actually voting Yes.

  18. newsjustin

    Heh Carlos! May is supposed to be the month that catholics particularly focus on Mary. Catholic schools build “May Altars”. That’s what you’re seeing there.

    It would have been better to see “Herself” on the table itself – at eye level with people…..

  19. Wall Peller

    And today’s word of the day is “quaint”. Henceforth I will always associate this word with homosexuals.

  20. Owen O'F

    ERMEHGERD! A PRIEST!!!! as all old people are THICK and EASILY LED unlike US HIGH IQ ADVANCED ATHEIST FREETHINKER YES VOTERS, clearly it is a CATHOLIC CONSPIRACY at work! Where is PANTI NOW? Why is SHE not talking to these gibbering old folk and telling them the CORRECT thing to do??!?!?!!11
    *Tips fedora, freethinking intensifies*

    P.S. ‘Ancient flock’. How fupping patronising can you possibly be.

  21. Lordblessusandsaveus

    Sandymount is super conservative. They like to think they’re all sophisticated and well informed but it’s a white middle class enclave of aging old school Catholic Irish Times readers. There is a palpable sense of class snobbery and unspoken racism. Oh they’re all for immigration but God forbid, if a black family moved in next door to them. They only want their own kind, private schooled, professional degree and from a ‘respectable’ family. Behind their facade of respectability, they dodge their taxes, leave people unpaid, hire au pairs on a pittance and through their jobs, perpetuate inequality and deny access to opportunity to anyone outside their sphere.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the area was majority No.

      1. Dubh Linn

        I’d say you’d need a salt mine and a vineyard to be working overtime to get the volume needed….

    1. scottser

      that is one impressive generality. i’m truly envious of the size of your brush and bucket of tar.

    2. Owen O'F

      I hear they steal stuff by entering all their fruit and veg as potatoes at the self-service Tesco checkouts too.

  22. Sam

    Matthew 5:34 forbids the swearing of Oaths, so swearing on a bible is a very dumb thing, except to trigger some kind of deeply ingrained guilt/obedience programming.

  23. p

    Is Marian Keyes for real? What a f**king moron. I see she made a grovelling apology on her twitter feed later.
    Grow up. The bible is there for a defined, legal purpose. There are wheelchair ramps in most polling stations too. You don’t have to use them. You don’t absorb religion by osmosis. Seriously, if this sort of thing concerns you, you need to take a long, hard look at your life.

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