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O'Toole calls on Dublin City Council to support Presidential voting rights for Six Counties residents

3 November, 2003

Sinn Féin Councillor Larry O'Toole will call on Dublin City Council to support presidential voting rights for Six Counties residents, in a motion to be put before the council at a meeting in City Hall, 6:45, tonight. His call comes following the passing of a motion by Newry and Mourne District Council, earlier this year, asking councils throughout the island to support the extension of the franchise.

Speaking in advance of the meeting, Cllr. O'Toole said:

"Every person of voting age on this island ought to be given the right to vote for the President. After the Good Friday Agreement, An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern instructed the All Party Committee on the Oireachtas and the Constitution to consider how the people of the Six Counties might play a "more active part in national political life". The Committee recognised in their recommendations a number of areas where Northern Representation could be accommodated.

"The most obvious immediate area would be in extending voting rights in Presidential Elections to all Irish Citizens living on the island of Ireland in keeping with the spirit and letter of the Good Friday Agreement as contained in the amended Article 2 of the 1937 Constitution.

"I also feel that Dublin City Council should voice disappointment at the content of Minister Cullen's response regarding the motion passed by Newry and Mourne District, Council earlier this year, calling for this entitlement.

"Minster Cullen interpreted the motion as referring to 'Emigrant Voting Rights'. The issues of Emigrant Voting Rights and voting rights in Presidential Elections for residents of the 6 Counties are two separate issues and must be dealt with as such. Irish citizens living in the 6 Counties will find it extremely offensive that an Irish Minister should refer to them as emigrants in their own country.

"It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born on the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish Nation. That is also the entitlement of all persons otherwise qualified in accordance with law to be citizens of Ireland. I will be asking the Council to support this basic right this evening."ENDS


That this City Council urges the Taoiseach and the Irish Government to recognise the exclusion of Irish Citizens resident in the six counties from exercising their right to participate in Presidential Elections and calls on the government to bring forward the necessary legislation to allow them to vote in elections for the Office of President of Ireland

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