A broad coalition of Senators has called for voting rights to be extended to Irish citizens living abroad. Senators representing all of the political parties in the Upper House have backed a 10-point plan that would see the franchise extended to emigrants and Irish citizens living in Northern Ireland. The plan was unveiled at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon by Billy Lawless, an Independent Senator who lives in the US and is viewed as the Irish diaspora’s representative in the Seanad. It was accompanied by a policy paper prepared by Irish emigrants group VotingRights.ie.
Articles about voting issues in Ireland.
A severely visually impaired man has won his High Court case over the State’s duty to vindicate his right to vote privately and without assistance in referendums and elections. Robbie Sinnott had taken proceedings against the Minister for the Environment and the State. He was supported by the Free Legal Advice Centres. In his judgment, Mr Justice Tony O’Connor said Mr Sinnott has “an inspiring desire to learn and to participate”. He shared Mr Sinnott’s concerns about the Department of the Environment’s delay over years in introducing the relevant tactile voting systems, and about the lack of information made publicly available about them.
The Irish government outlined details yesterday (22 March) for a referendum that could give citizens abroad the right to vote in presidential elections, and possibly bring Ireland in line with 23 other EU countries. Aside from Ireland, only Cyprus, Denmark and Malta do not allow their citizens to vote if they live outside the country. Greece allows non-resident Greeks to vote only if they return home. If the Irish referendum passes, the country’s electorate could balloon. Some observers claim it could be a gift for Sinn Féin by giving voting rights to the left-wing party’s supporters abroad. Voters, for now only those in the country, will decide whether to extend rights to Ireland’s sizeable diaspora. A date for the referendum will be decided “in due course”, according to the government paper published yesterday.
The Government will consider online voting as an option in the referendum granting voting rights for the Irish abroad, Minister for the Diaspora Joe McHugh has said. Mr McHugh told RTÉ that an options paper containing a range of suggestions will be published. “It will contain all the various permutations. Ultimately we hope to have a rational and informed debate to determine the best options.” The decision to hold a referendum, which was taken by the Cabinet last week and announced by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the US on Sunday, builds on the findings of the convention on the constitution in 2013 which recommended that the constitution be amended to provide for citizens resident outside the State, including Northern Ireland, to have the right to vote at presidential elections.
On the face of it, Enda Kenny’s commitment to extending the vote to the Irish diaspora in presidential elections sounds worthwhile and deserved. Such a generous gesture to Irish citizens living abroad also seems relatively straightforward, giving effect to one of the recommendations made by the Constitutional Convention. The franchise for the diaspora could start as early as 2025 if the optimism of the Taoiseach, Minister of State for the Diaspora Joe McHugh and other Ministers is to be believed. But such a fundamental change is fraught with logistical challenges, carries a big price tag and will raise a host of niggling ethical issues, as well as political headaches for parties other than Sinn Féin.
A referendum on granting Irish citizens abroad the right to vote in Irish presidential elections is to be held the Taoiseach has announced. Speaking in Philadelphia, Enda Kenny said the proposed change, which will also apply to those living in Northern Ireland, will mark a “historic recognition of the strong and enduring links between Ireland and all our citizens, wherever they are in the world.” … The decision to hold a referendum, which was taken by the cabinet last week, builds on the findings of the convention on the constitution in 2013 which recommended that the constitution be amended to provide for citizens resident outside the State, including Northern Ireland, to have the right to vote at presidential elections.
Councillors from Derry City and Strabane took their campaign for votes for all Irish citizens in future Irish Presidential elections to the Dáil just before it rose for Christmas. Local delegates protested outside the Dáil over the Dublin Government’s failure to implement a Constitutional Convention’s recommendation that it hold a referendum on voting rights for all Irish citizens regardless of where they were born. The protest followed a Sinn Féin motion passed by Derry City and Strabane District Council last month in support of votes for all Irish people.
Ireland: Calls strengthen for voting rights for Irish in Northern Ireland and living abroad | Irish Central
Pressure is growing on the Irish government to extend voting rights in Irish presidential elections to Irish citizens living in Northern Ireland and across the globe. Newry, Mourne and Down Council is the latest local authority to add its voice to the call for northerners and the diaspora to participate in future Presidential votes. Last month, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams criticized Enda Kenny after the taoiseach rejected a proposed referendum in 2017 on the right of Irish citizens in Northern Ireland and in the diaspora to vote for the next President. The Taoiseach said the delay in holding a referendum was due to the need for officials to determine who would be included in a new franchise as well as the cost of the venture. Mr. Adams described the decision as “unacceptable and deeply disappointing.”
Ireland: Government will publish paper on the extension of voting rights to Irish abroad in January | Irish Post
An options paper on extending voting rights in presidential elections to Irish citizens living abroad is due in January, according to Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald. The issue of extending the electoral franchise to members of the Irish Diaspora around the world was raised by Sinn Féin deputy Mary Lou McDonald TD, speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil. Ms McDonald accused the Government of a “con job” in their treatment of the prospect of the Irish abroad and those in Northern Ireland being handed the right to vote in presidential elections. But the Tánaiste rejected Sinn Féin’s accusation that the Government had been “stalling” on the issue, saying that “considerable practical implications” had been behind the motion’s apparent lack of speed.
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams described Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s rejection of a promised referendum next year on the right of the diaspora and Irish citizens living in Northern Ireland to vote in presidential elections as “unacceptable and deeply disappointing.” The Sinn Féin leader also criticized the announcement by the Taoiseach ruling out a referendum before the next presidential election in 2018. In his response to a question from the Sinn Féin leader, the Taoiseach blamed the delay in holding the referendum on the need for officials to determine who would be included in a new franchise, what categories of people would be covered, and the cost of the venture. Kenny, according to an Irish Times report, said he was still committed to holding a referendum on the issue of emigrant voting for the president and had recently met with Diaspora Minister Joe McHugh to request that the research being done by an interdepartmental group be concluded soon.