Dogs at polling stations: These pets were out in force as Ireland voted
As Ireland went to the polls for the presidential election, the tradition of voters bringing their dogs to the polls returned in full force.
The hashtag #dogsatpollingstations trended on Twitter on Friday, with Irish voters sharing pictures of their pets as they arrived to take part.
With more than 3.2 million people entitled to vote in 40 constituencies, many used their canine friends to encourage others to exercise their democratic right.
“Me and Mr Dog exercising my democratic right,” wrote Jon Payne.
“Hugo among the #DogsAtPollingStations. Now Go And Vote for @MichaelDHiggins,” wrote Bernard Harbor with an image of his dog, tagging incumbent President Michael D Higgins.
“Buffy says make sure you get out to vote today!” tweeted Siobhan Quill.
Polling stations were due to open across the country from between 7am and 10pm, with the electorate also being asked whether they wanted to remove the offence of blasphemy from the Irish constitution.
“Gabby has given Miggeldy her number one and voted to remove blasphemy from the constitution,” wrote @DogsForChoice.
“Miggeldy” refers to President Higgins, one of six candidates in the election.
The others are Senator Joan Freeman, Sinn Fein MEP Liadh Ni Riada and three businessmen – Sean Gallagher, Gavin Duffy and Peter Casey.
While some promoted their favourite candidate, others took the opportunity to suggest dog-friendly policies.
“Diesel says that in these uncertain times we need more doggy biscuits,” wrote Joe Lafferty, Twitter handle @SilentFugitive.
Much of the social media activity around #dogsatpollingstations is light-hearted but Mr Lafferty said the trend “strikes a chord” with many.
“It brings a sense of colour to an otherwise dry subject matter,” the 45-year-old from Donegal told the Press Association. “To [dog lovers], there is a dog-human bond there that no politician could ever establish.
“People trust in the loyalty of their dog, way more than of a politician.”
Journalist Cate McCurry posted a picture of a husky with the caption: “Nine-year-old Jackson patiently waiting on his owner to return from voting in the presidential elections.”