(1) Where a Dáil elector applying for a ballot paper satisfies the presiding officer that his sight is so impaired or that he is otherwise so physically incapacitated or that he is unable to read or write to such an extent that he is unable to vote without assistance, this section shall apply.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) the presiding officer may, and if required by any personation agent present in the polling station shall, administer to the Dáil elector before delivery of the ballot paper an oath or (in the case of a person who objects to taking an oath on the ground that he has no religious belief or that the taking of an oath is contrary to his religious belief) an affirmation in the following form:
'I swear by Almighty God (or — do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm — as the case may be) that my sight is so impaired (or — that I am so physically incapacitated or—that I am unable to read or write to such an extent — as the case may be) that I am unable to vote without assistance"
and if the Dáil elector refuses to take the oath or make the affirmation, this section shall not apply.
(3) Where this section applies in the case of a Dáil elector who satisfies the presiding officer that his sight is so impaired or that he is otherwise so physically incapacitated or that he is unable to read or write to such an extent that he is unable to vote without assistance, the elector may request that his ballot paper shall be marked for him by a companion and, subject to subsection (4), the companion may go with the elector into one of the compartments in the polling station and there shall mark the ballot paper for the elector and shall fold it and show the back of the folded paper to the presiding officer so as to disclose the official mark and forthwith place the paper in the ballot box.
(4) The presiding officer may, and if required by any personation agent present in the polling station shall, put to the companion before delivery of the ballot paper, the following questions or any one or more of them:
(i) Have you attained the age of sixteen years?
(ii) Have you marked as a companion more than one ballot paper at this election?
(iii) Are you a candidate at this election?
(iv) Are you an agent of a candidate at this election?
and unless such of those questions as are put to the companion are answered, in the case of the first of those questions, in the affirmative and, in the case of any other of those questions, in the negative, the companion may not mark the ballot paper.
(5) Where this section applies and—
(a) the Dáil elector is unable to read or write, or
(b) the Dáil elector does not request that his ballot paper shall be marked for him by a companion, or
(c) the Dáil elector having so requested, the marking of his ballot paper by the companion would be in contravention of subsection (4),
the presiding officer shall, in the presence of the elector and the personation agents and no other person, mark a ballot paper as instructed by such elector and shall then fold it and place it in the ballot box.
(6) A request made by a Dáil elector within two hours before the hour fixed by the Minister for the close of the poll to have his ballot paper marked for him under this section otherwise than by a companion may be refused by the presiding officer if, in his opinion, having regard to the number of Dáil electors then coming in to vote or likely to come in to vote before the close of the poll, his acceding to such request would interfere with the proper discharge of his duties or would unduly obstruct the voting of other Dáil electors.
(7) Where a ballot paper is to be marked pursuant to subsection (5) the presiding officer may assist the Dáil elector by reading out in full from the ballot paper the particulars stated in respect of each candidate, but he shall not act on any written instruction.
(8) Where, pursuant to this section, a person has marked as a companion two ballot papers at a Dáil election, he shall not, at that election, mark as a companion any other ballot paper.
(9) A person shall not mark as a companion a ballot paper at a Dáil election if he has not reached the age of 16 years or if he is a candidate or agent of a candidate at that election.