Brazilians in Ireland go to the polls in Croke Park, with most voting for Lula

Two-thirds of 12,000 registered Brazilian voters in the State expected to cast ballots in presidential election run-off

Thousands of Brazilian voters living in Ireland travelled to Croke Park in Dublin on Sunday to make their choice in a presidential election run-off between the far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and the socialist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

The polling station — 16 electronic voting machines in a conference hall — opened at 8am and closed at 5pm, with more than 7,000 people having voted by 3pm. Brazil’s ambassador to Ireland, Marcel Biato, who was overseeing operations, said about two-thirds of the 12,000 registered Brazilian voters in the State were expected to cast ballots.

“The results are sent electronically directly to Brasilia and we also do a local tally so we can verify them, so party representatives can examine them,” said Mr Biato.

A large majority of those who spoke to The Irish Times had voted for Lula, in keeping with the 80 per cent of Irish returns that backed him in the first round on October 2nd. Lula narrowly won the first round and entered the run-off the slight favourite. He was the most popular Brazilian president for many years when he left office in 2010, but later got mired in a corruption scandal and spent time in prison before the conviction was annulled.


Barbara Caeallieri (30), from Sao Paulo and living in Ireland for five years, voted for Lula.

“Even though I am not living in Brazil any more I still believe I am part of it,” she said. “I have relatives that need food and don’t have much money... Right now we are facing a lot of problems in Brazil with regard to poverty. There are 33 million in Brazil are in poverty. There is no food on their tables. There is nothing for them. Lula cares so much for the poor. Bolsonaro, he is the one who cares about rich people only.”

Juliana (34), in Ireland for two years, said she was “definitely optimistic” that Lula would win. “I would really like to understand why people keep voting for Bolsonaro. He is devastating the rainforest, the small farmers,” she added.

Jeronimo (40), in Ireland since 2018 and working as a carer while studying for a degree in early childhood education, voted for Mr Bolsonaro.

“To be honest I wanted to vote for anyone except Bolsonaro or Lula, but I just didn’t like the time Lula had in Brazil. He didn’t sort out the situation. I kind of think Bolsonaro could do more for the country.”

Priscilla (36), in Ireland since she was 29, said she has misgivings about Lula, but could not vote for Mr Bolsonaro.

“He is a person who brought out the worst of our society. For me he is many, many steps backwards,” she said.

Commenting on the profile of Brazilian voters in Ireland, Mr Biato said they were “above all young — 20- to 40-year-olds — who have come here to study”.

“They are young professionals and business people who come to learn English to improve their careers. These are middle class people who want to travel, study and enjoy life.”

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times