Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has moved a Bill in the Dáil to amend the Constitution to allow the voting age for Presidential elections to be lowered to 16-years-of-age and to introduce votes in Presidential elections for citizens in the North and for the Irish diaspora, as recommended by the Constitutional Convention.
The Bill, jointly sponsored by Sinn Fein Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Seán Crowe TD will now proceed to the next stage.
Speaking to the Bill, Gerry Adams said:
“This Bill seeks to amend the Constitution to allow the voting age for Presidential elections to be lowered to 16-years-of-age and to introduce votes in Presidential elections for citizens in the North and for the Irish diaspora, as recommended by the Constitutional Convention.
“Sinn Féin is committed to real, participatory democracy, based on equality and inclusivity for citizens throughout Ireland and those of our people who have been forced, through no fault of our own to leave this country.
The Sinn Féin Leader pointed out that around 70 million people around the world claimed to be of Irish descent. Although Ireland was a small island, as a nation we are huge and spread right across the globe. The diaspora is an important part of the nation.
The level of the economic crisis meant 240 people were leaving the state each day. 40,000 people had emigrated over the past five years.
“The current inequality of citizenship, which punishes Irish citizens living outside the State must be ended.
“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 Irish citizens living abroad.
“This was a significant contribution to the Peace Process and an important decision for all democrats, but particularly for citizens in the North.
“It is time now to build on that contribution. It is time for the Oireachtas to play its part.
“Sinn Féin urges the government 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 throughout this island and overseas.”