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Kenny's Seanad voting spin falls far short of what is acceptable – Ó Clochartaigh

12 April, 2015

Sinn Féin Spokesperson for the Diaspora Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has said that Enda Kenny's proposals on voting rights for Irish citizens abroad falls far short of what people want and deserve.

Senator Ó Clochartaigh:

“The Taoiseach is today speculating about voting rights in Seanad elections for Irish citizens in the north and across the globe. This is only a very small step to proper and full democratic representation. The fact that it won't even be delivered in time for the next Seanad election gives this the whiff of another Fine Gael-Labour pre-election promise which won't be delivered upon.

“When the government launched their Diaspora Policy recently, they kicked to touch on the issue of voting rights in Presidential elections. This is despite the overwhelming support for these from the Constitutional Convention.

“Representation for the diaspora in the Seanad must be part of a major overhaul of that institution, which gets rid of the elitist nature of it and allows for all Irish citizens to have a say in electing its members. However, the government must also commit to extending the right of Irish citizens to vote in referendums and General and Local elections.

“Many Irish emigrants feel disenfranchised, frustrated and angry that they can't vote in the upcoming referendums, local and general elections. They want their voice to be heard and respected and they want to be represented properly in the institutions of government here.

“The government have had four years to do something about these issues and I have no faith in them delivering any of the changes they promise before they have to go to the polls themselves again. Sinn Féin in government will deliver real reform in the area of voting rights for the diaspora and ensure that they are properly represented in our parliament and not just in a tokenistic fashion.” 

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