Constitutional Convention’s embrace of equality of all citizens welcome
The Sinn Féin delegates to the Constitutional Convention have welcomed the strong vote in favour of extending the right to vote for the President to northern citizens and citizens abroad.
Gerry Adams TD, who is representing the party along with Mary Lou McDonald TD and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA said:
“The Constitutional Convention has today taken a significant step forward in its recognition of the equal rights of all. By doing so, they have also made a constructive contribution to the peace process.
“The issue of voting rights in presidential elections for citizens living in the north and those living abroad is an important one for all democrats, but particularly for citizens in the north.
“The right to vote was hard fought for there in our own lifetime. It is a fundamental human right. The fact that Irish citizens living across the border cannot vote for the President of Ireland is another anomaly of partition, but it is also a form of discrimination against citizens of this state.
“President Michael D Higgins and before him, Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese, spoke and acted as presidents of all of this island. This is how they are regarded in the north too. The Government should act on the recommendations of the Convention to allow the people of the north and those who have left our shores to vote in presidential elections.
“As Martin McGuinness said during today’s deliberations, Sinn Féin isn’t just looking for votes for republicans or nationalists in the north. Unionists also deserve the opportunity, if they wish to exercise it, to elect the President.”