Irish citizens in the north and abroad should have full voting rights – Ó Clochartaigh
Sinn Féin’s newly appointed Spokesperson on the Diaspora Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has called on the Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly to extend voting rights to Irish citizens in the north of Ireland and to Irish people living abroad.
Senator O Clochartaigh said:
“The Constitutional Convention’s final report recommended that voting rights in presidential elections be extended to Irish citizens living abroad and in the north of Ireland.
“This is a positive move which bring us into line with other EU countries most of whom allow their non-resident citizens to vote in elections.
“However since the advent of the crisis and the government’s programme of austerity people have in increasing numbers been forced to emigrate to find work.
“These people deserve a say in the future of the country and the right to vote in all elections.
“Sinn Féin favours a reserved Dáil constituency for citizens in the north and the diaspora. This would allow the government to deal with voting rights with limited disruption to the current electoral system.
“They should also be entitled to representation in a reformed Seanad.
“As someone who was born in England to immigrant parents from Connemara it was a great honour to be appointed to the diaspora portfolio.
“I intend to pursue this issue so that Irish people, irrespective of where they live have an opportunity to vote in all major elections and referenda.
“Minister Kelly needs to tell us what his intentions are and if he has submitted a paper to Cabinet on voting rights for the diaspora.”