The Irish abroad do not need a voice in Leinster House because they have the likes of Facebook and Twitter, a minister from the Irish Government has claimed. Speaking exclusively to The Irish Post, Junior Finance Minister Brian Hayes said all Irish passport holders should be given a say in Ireland’s Presidential elections. But the growth of social media has eliminated their need for a political voice at home, he added. The Fine Gael TD’s comments come amidst revelations that Irish emigration is at an all-time high. Almost 90,000 people left Ireland in the 12 months to April this year, with one person emigrating every four minutes and 60 starting a new life in Britain every day. Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson for the Irish overseas previously told The Irish Post that the Government must respond to the mass exodus by giving the Irish abroad a voice in the Oireachtas rather than just a “tokenistic” vote for its President.
When quizzed about extending voting rights to the Irish abroad, Minister Hayes said: “If you read the Irish Constitution, the distinction between the Irish State and the Irish Nation is clear.
“The President of Ireland, under the Constitution, is supposed to represent the Irish Nation and the Irish Nation of course is a much bigger concept than the 26 counties of Ireland.” He added: “I am on record in the past as arguing why I think it would be a good idea that we would extend voting rights for Presidential elections to Irish passport holders in other jurisdictions. And I am still of that view.”
But his support for the movement stops there. Asked if the Irish abroad need some kind of voice in the Dail, the minister said: “The Irish abroad is not a homogenous group. The Irish abroad are made of people of the left, of the right, of the centre and everything in between.
Full Article: ‘Emigrants don’t need Dáil votes. They’ve got Facebook!’.