Ireland will hold a referendum next year on whether to repeal its ban on abortion in almost all circumstances, a few weeks before Pope Francis is expected to visit. Leo Varadkar, the taoiseach, told the Irish parliament on Tuesday that a national vote on whether to abolish the eighth amendment to the constitution, which gives a foetus the status of a citizen even in early pregnancy, would take place in summer 2018. Under current law, a woman convicted of having an illegal termination in Ireland can face up to 14 years in prison. However, women are free to travel abroad for abortions, and thousands each year do so, mainly to England. Last year the UN human rights committee found that Ireland’s abortion laws were “cruel, inhuman and degrading”. It repeated this criticism in June.
Articles about voting issues in Ireland.
Last week at the Def Con Hacking Conference in Las Vegas chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov discussed artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, electronic voting machines were hacked into, and the US army taught hacking skills to children. Plus a group called the Online Privacy Foundation unveiled research on whether ‘dark ads’ on social media can sway political opinion. Targeting voters through social media, and customising the messaging based on publicly available data is a recipe for underhand political advertising. It allows for messaging that’s not fit for a party political broadcast to be targeted to an audience in swing areas. For example, in the recent UK election, Conservative attack ads warning voters against ‘Corbyn’s death tax’ were served to voters in the marginal constituency of Delyn in Wales.
Ireland: Bill to extend Irish Presidential election voting rights to people in Northern Ireland receives cross-party support | Derry Now
Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed this morning’s cross party support from the Joint Committee on Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government for his Bill which seeks to extend the franchise in Presidential elections to citizens in the North and in the diaspora. The Bill which is co-sponsored by Seán Crowe TD would also lower the voting age in Presidential elections to 16. The Bill is entitled the ‘Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Presidential Voting) Bill 2014’.
Ireland’s diaspora has no chance of voting in next year’s presidential election, Minister for Local Government Simon Coveney has confirmed. Work is however starting on improving the voter registration process, he said. Taoiseach Enda Kenny pledged during his St Patrick’s week visit to the US that a referendum would be held on whether or not to allow non-resident citizens, including those in Northern Ireland, to vote in presidential elections.
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.
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.