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.
Articles about voting issues in Ireland.
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.
Long before Billy Lawless became the first expatriate to serve in the Irish Senate, he was a regular guest at a uniquely Irish event known as the “American wake.” A full-blown going-away party held in a small Irish village, this occasion earned its dour name “because Johnny or Mary were going to the United States and that was probably the last we’d ever see of them,” said Mr. Lawless, a Chicago restaurateur who grew up on the outskirts of Galway. “But that day is gone now. Everything has changed.” Though emigration once implied a dramatic severing of ties, today’s expats are remaining more engaged than ever with the political affairs of their home countries, following local news on the internet and voting from abroad. In a more profound break with old patterns, expats like Mr. Lawless are even taking on political roles in their native countries. Most nations, including 23 of 28 European Union member states, now allow some form of voting for non-resident citizens, said Jean-Thomas Arrighi, a political scientist specializing in the issue at the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. Thirteen countries have gone further, establishing “external constituencies,” with representatives directly elected by citizens abroad.
Ireland: Referendum in Ireland on whether Irish abroad should have voting rights at home looks likely | Irish Post
A referendum is likely to be held in Ireland asking the electorate whether millions of Irish living abroad should have a vote in the next Presidential election. A spokesman for the Department of the Taoiseach told The Irish Post why a referendum was necessary: “Any such vote granted to those not living in the Republic would require a change in the constitution. This in turn needs a referendum to enact such a change.” The department confirmed that discussions have been entered into by the Minister for the Diaspora Joe McHugh. However, no date had been fixed for any referendum and neither had the exact wording of any such question been formulated.
The Government has been asked to “rectify its failure” to provide blind and vision impaired voters with their constitutional right to a secret ballot. The call has come from the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) as a High Court challenge begins against the Department of the Environment, Community, and Local Government by Robert Sinnott of the Blind Legal Alliance. The action claims people who are blind or vision-impaired cannot vote in secret. People with sight loss are entitled to enlist the assistance of a ‘trusted friend’ or the presiding officer when casting their ballot.
A referendum, planned for early next year, on Ireland’s election law could lead to the country’s 800,000 passport holders who live outside the state getting the right to vote in Irish presidential elections. The Minister for the Diaspora Joe McHugh unveiled plans for the referendum during a special event in Kampala, Uganda attended by Irish citizens living in the country. McHugh admitted that if the diaspora voting in the presidential election went well then voting rights for emigrants could be expanded to include the right to vote in general elections. Currently there are 800,000 Irish people with Irish passports living outside the state in 120 countries around the world. They currently do not have the right to vote on matters in Ireland. The proposed referendum, if passed, would see this law change.
Protestant unionists are queuing for Irish passports in Belfast and once quiet Catholic nationalists are openly campaigning for a united Ireland, signs of deep shifts in the United Kingdom’s most troubled province since Britain voted to leave the EU. Eighteen years after a peace deal ended decades of fighting between mainly Catholic nationalists who favour a united Ireland and mainly Protestant unionists who favour remaining part of the United Kingdom, Britain’s Brexit vote is making people on both sides of the divide in Northern Ireland think the unthinkable. Northern Ireland, like neighbouring Scotland, voted to stay in the European Union, with 56 pecent in favour, even though Britain as a whole voted to leave the bloc.