Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD today launched new Sinn Féin policy proposals on the Irish Diaspora.
Joined by Sinn Féin Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Spokesperson Seán Crowe TD, Mr Adams outlined seven key proposals to improve the relationship between the state and Irish citizens overseas.
Later today Mr Adams will also move Sinn Féin's Constitutional Amendment Bill 2014.
The Bill seeks to amend the Constitution to allow the voting age be lowered to 16 and to introduce votes in Presidential elections for citizens in the north and for the Irish diaspora, as recommended by the Constitutional Convention.
Speaking at today's launch, Gerry Adams said:
“Sinn Féin is committed to real, participatory democracy, based on equality and inclusivity.
“We advocate extending the right to vote in Dáil and Presidential elections to all adults of voting age and legally resident in the country for at least five years, a reformed Seanad and proper representation for the the diaspora in the Oireachtas.
"The diaspora is an important part of the Irish nation.
“Since the beginning of the economic crisis in 2008, approximately 300,000 Irish people have emigrated, leaving them with no voice in the Dáil.
"The current inequality of citizenship, which punishes Irish citizens living outside the State must be ended.
“The creation of a new Minister of State for the Irish Overseas and Irish Diaspora would provide permanent representation for those forced to leave our shores.
"This Minister of State would be tasked with working with Irish community groups, helping to improve the relationship between Ireland and its diaspora.
“Last year the Constitutional Convention took a significant step forward in its recognition of the equal rights of all Irish citizens by recommending voting rights in Presidential elections for citizens living in the north and those abroad.
"This was a significant contribution to the peace process and an important decision for all democrats, but particularly for citizens in the north.
"Sinn Féin urges the government to consider our recommendations and also to accept the Sinn Féin Bill, allowing time for its transition through the Houses of the Oireachtas, thereby triggering a referendum on an issue of huge importance for the Irish people."
Sinn Féin Proposals Include:
- Extending the right to vote in Presidential elections to Irish citizens living and working outside the State.
- Extending the right to vote in Dáil and Presidential elections to all adults of voting age and legally resident in the country for at least 5 years.
- Introducing appropriate diaspora representation in the Dail by way of reserved constituency, with voting rights subject to a valid passport and regular registration requirement.
- Reform of the Seanad and provide diaspora representation.
- Appointing a Minister of State for Diaspora Overseas.
- Establishing a Government taskforce on emigration.
- Providing permanent provision for diaspora representation on the Council of State