The result of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment could be undermined if a legal challenge about voting rights for Irish citizens in Northern Ireland is not decided beforehand, the High Court has heard. Lawyers for a Belfast student who wants to bring a legal challenge to the exclusion of people in Northern Ireland from voting in the May referendum say the case must be heard beforehand or risk invalidating the result. Roisin Morelli is seeking permission from the High Court to bring the challenge. She says citizens of Northern Ireland have a constitutional right to vote in such referendums.Full Article: Legal challenge over NI voting rights in referendum.
Articles about voting issues in Ireland.
A bill will go before the Seanad today which could see the voting age in Ireland be reduced to 16-years-old. If the bill is passed, over 126,000 16 and 17-year-olds would be eligible to vote in the next local elections in 2019. Furthermore, no referendum would be required to reduce the age unless it was Dail or Presidential elections. The bill has been proposed and sponsored by Senators Fintan Warfield and Lynn Ruane.Full Article: Voting age for local and European elections could be reduced to 16 today | The Irish Post.
People who are blind or visually impaired will be able to vote in the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment without assistance for the first time. The use of new tactile ballot templates at polling stations means thousands of people with limited or no sight will be able to cast their votes in secret in the May referendum. The introduction of these new ballot papers follows the High Court case of Robbie Sinnott who initiated proceedings in 2016 against the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and the State.Full Article: Tactile ballot templates to facilitate visually impaired in voting.
The Irish government has agreed the wording of a national referendum on abortion to be held by the end of May which could radically transform the lives of thousands of women and signal a further loosening of the grip of the Catholic church. The cabinet, meeting on International Women’s Day, approved a bill on Thursday allowing the long-anticipated referendum to go ahead. Voters will be asked if they want to repeal article 40.3.3 – known as the eighth amendment – which since 1983 has given unborn foetuses and pregnant women an equal right to life, effectively enshrining a ban on abortion in the country’s constitution. If Ireland votes in favour of repeal, the government has said it will introduce legislation permitting unrestricted abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.Full Article: Ireland's government approves abortion referendum bill | World news | The Guardian.
In 1983, Ailbhe Smyth was spat at and denounced as a “baby murderer” in the street as she campaigned for Irish women to have the right to abortion. Thirty-five years later, the activist is still at the heart of Ireland’s abortion battle, fighting for her daughter, granddaughter and other women to get control over their bodies. This time, she is hopeful that the country’s prohibition of abortion, even in cases of rape or fatal foetal abnormality, which is enshrined in the constitution, may be overturned in a referendum expected to be held on 25 May.Full Article: Ireland to confirm abortion referendum details as activist vows to fight on | World news | The Guardian.
The eighth amendment of the Irish constitution makes Ireland, depending on your point of view, either a unique beacon of humanity in a godless world or a superstitious hamlet determined not to enter into the 21st century. The amendment was signed into law in October 1983 after two-thirds of the electorate voted in a referendum to accord equal status to the life of a child growing in the womb with that of its mother. As a result, only in extreme circumstances can an abortion take place. Pointing out that no one under the age of 52 had ever voted on the issue, the taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, last week announced that a referendum would take place by the end of May to repeal the amendment.Full Article: Ireland divided as vote on abortion tests faith and the old order | World news | The Guardian.
Prime Minister Leo Varadkar of Ireland has narrowly averted the collapse of his government, but he emerged from a political crisis badly weakened on Tuesday, just weeks before a crucial European Union meeting about Brexit and the country’s border with Britain. Mr. Varadkar’s deputy prime minister, Frances Fitzgerald, resigned on Tuesday over her role in a policing scandal. Her resignation was announced hours before a no-confidence vote was due in Parliament, averting a snap election. “I believe it is necessary to take this decision to avoid an unwelcome and potentially destabilizing general election at this historically critical time,” Ms. Fitzgerald said in a statement posted on Twitter.Full Article: Ireland Avoids Snap Election, but Its Leader Is Weakened - The New York Times.
Ireland was on the verge of a snap election on Monday after the opposition party propping up the minority government said the deputy prime minister’s refusal to quit would force the country to the polls next month. The political crisis that deepened dramatically late on Monday has left the country’s two main parties with less than 24 hours to head off a general election in a dispute that cast a shadow over a key Brexit summit next month. Ireland will play a major role at the meeting, telling EU leaders whether it believes sufficient progress has been made on the future of the border between EU-member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland. The pressure on Deputy Prime Minister Frances Fitzgerald of Varadkar’s Fine Gael party mounted on Monday following the release of fresh documents about her disputed handling of a police whistleblower who alleged corruption in the force.Full Article: Ireland on the verge of snap election as crisis deepens.
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.Full Article: Ireland to hold abortion referendum weeks before pope's visit | World news | The Guardian.
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.Full Article: Steve Dempsey: Digital dark arts now targeting voters - Independent.ie.
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’.Full Article: Bill to extend Irish Presidential election voting rights to people in Northern Ireland receives cross-party support | Derry Now.
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.Full Article: No diaspora vote in 2018 presidential election, says Coveney.
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.Full Article: Senators support plan for emigrant voting rights.
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.Full Article: Visually impaired man wins case against State over voting.
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.Full Article: Irish referendum could allow voting abroad, following 23 EU countries – EURACTIV.com.
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.Full Article: Online voting to be considered in referendum for Irish abroad.
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.Full Article: Diaspora voting proposals raise ethical and political issues.
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.Full Article: Referendum to be held on granting Irish abroad voting rights.
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.Full Article: Sinn Féin delegates take ‘One Irish citizen, One Vote’ drive to Dáil - Derry Journal.
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.”Full Article: Calls strengthen for voting rights for Irish in Northern Ireland and living abroad | IrishCentral.com.