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.
Mr McHugh said that quantifying the exact numbers of people who would be eligible would be difficult. “This is a massive piece of work. It is going to be ground breaking. “Especially at a time when other countries are becoming more isolationist. It is Ireland looking outward.”
… The Government will now publish a paper by the end of the month setting out a range of options on how to give effect to the recommendations of the convention. The issue will also be discussed at the Global Irish Civic Forum due to take place in Dublin in May, but it is unlikely that the changes, if passed in a referendum, would be implemented before the next presidential election due in 2018.