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Extension of voting rights for Irish citizens in presidential elections could potentially pave way for other elections – Funchion

18 May, 2017 - by Kathleen Funchion TD

Speaking today after the committee meeting of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion and Committee Chairperson said that voting rights to Irish citizens resident outside of the state need to be considered and extended.

The Carlow-Kilkenny TD said:

“The issue of granting voting rights to Irish citizens resident outside the State is one that has been discussed for many years. Today, the Joint Committee analysed some of the legal and constitutional aspects of extending the right to vote to Irish citizens resident outside the state, with a specific focus on the implications for those in the North.

“Should the franchise be extended to the North, specific consideration must be given to the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, in particular the right of citizens of the North to be British or Irish or both. The legal and practical implications were discussed.

“The committee also heard from experts that an introduction to a postal voting system in Presidential elections could potentially set the template for extending a postal vote wider in Ireland for older people for example, or those living in rural Ireland.

“Following the outcome of the Convention on the Constitution, the Government announced on 7 March 2017 that a referendum would be held to amend Article 12 of the constitution to allow Irish citizens resident outside the State, including those residing in the North, to vote in Irish presidential elections. Extending the franchise in presidential elections to Irish citizens resident outside the State gives rise to a range of legal, policy, and practical issues. That outcome could potentially pave the way for any future extension of voting rights in other elections.” 

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