Voting rights should be extended to Irish citizens living abroad, an Oireachtas committee has recommended. In its Report on Voting Rights of Irish Citizens Abroad, to be published later today, the Joint Committee on European Union Affairs said “Irish emigrants should continue to have a stake in the future of their home country”. More than 120 countries around the world have provisions for their citizens abroad to cast a ballot, but Ireland does not currently allow emigrants to vote in presidential or Dáil elections. The Oireachtas committee review was prompted by criticism from the European Commission earlier this year, which said Ireland was “disenfranchising” its citizens living in other EU member states by not providing them voting rights in national elections. “Such disenfranchisement practices can negatively affect EU free movement rights,” it said.
At the Constitutional Convention last year, 78 of 100 members voted in favour of extending the franchise to the Irish abroad for Presidential elections. The Oireachtas committee heard from Dublin-based ambassadors for other EU member states, Irish political parties, political geography lecturer Dr Adrian Kavanagh from NUI Maynooth, and chief executive of Irish in Britain Jennie McShannon while compiling their report on the issue.
The committee heard Ireland is among a minority of EU member states that does not allow its citizens abroad to vote. There is a consensus among academics that a case may eventually be taken to the European Court of Justice challenging the restriction on voting rights, which may force those states to change their laws.
Full Article: Irish emigrants should have right to vote, report says.