Diaspora let down by the Government once more - O Clochartaigh
Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh criticised the government for failing the Irish Diaspora again, by not following up on the commitment to implement the Constitutional Convention's recommendation to hold a referendum on voting rights in Presidential elections to Irish citizens abroad.
Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:
“The Minister has been travelling extensively, giving
the impression that a decision on this was imminent. It is clear that he has
failed to impress this on his Cabinet colleagues who have once more kicked
these rights to touch.
“Sinn Féin had been advocating for these rights for a very long time and we would also like to see the debate extended to voting rights in Dáil & Seanad elections also.
“We also need to address the issue of representation for the Diaspora in the Seanad itself.
“The rights we propose should also be shared with Irish citizens in the north but the government’s intransigence on issues in the six counties is indicative of their approach to our Irish who do not live in the 26 counties.
“I have called on the government to debate these issues in the Seanad after Christmas as a matter of urgency. It is not good enough to call on our Diaspora to support initiatives such as the Gathering and the 2016 Commemorations but not to reciprocate by extending voting and other rights to our citizens across the globe.
“This issue is particularly poignant at this time of year when many of our emigrants will come home to visit, only to return to their new homes in the New Year and there are also so many others who are exiled due to no fault of their own and are not in a position to be at home with family and friends at this time of year.”