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.
The referendum is part of a package of measures being addressed by the Ministry for Diaspora Affairs including matching job skills of returning emigrants with needs of employers in Ireland. The package is currently being examined by a high-level interdepartmental government committee.
McHugh told the Irish Independent that the priority was to give Irish emigrants the right to vote in presidential elections.
He said “the French diaspora get to vote for three or four seats in the French parliament and this is something that could happen in Ireland too, but we must get the presidential vote over the line first.”
Full Article: Referendum on voting rights for the Irish abroad planned for 2017 – IrishCentral.com.