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Taoiseach needs to clarify vote for citizens in the north voting in Presidential elections – Adams

1 June, 2016 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has called on the Taoiseach to spell out what are the “certain circumstances” which he referenced in Taoiseach’s questions yesterday that would allow for Irish citizens in the north, as well as members of the diaspora to vote in future Presidential elections.

Gerry Adams said:

“The next Presidential election is less than two and a half years away. The Programme for Government refers to an historic opportunity to radically reform the political landscape and states the Government is ‘proposing substantive political and constitutional reform in order to create a strong responsive political system’.

“In this context, the fifth report of the Constitutional Convention in November 2013 dealt with the question of amending the Constitution to give citizens outside the State the right to vote in presidential elections. I attended the session which was very informative. Video-conferencing was used to hear from representatives of the diaspora in the USA, France, Canada, Germany and England and the convention also heard directly from people living in the North.

“It voted in favour of changing the Constitution to give citizens resident outside the State the right to vote in presidential elections. This is a big issue for people living in the USA. It is also a big issue for Irish citizens in the north.

“In his response to me in the Dáil on Tuesday, Enda Kenny acknowledged that this issue had been raised with him in the USA recently. He said that he had appointed Deputy Joe McHugh as Minister of State with responsibility for the diaspora and that he had specifically asked him to ‘pursue the question of making it become a reality that we allow Irish citizens in various categories who are living abroad to be able to vote in Presidential elections with whatever conditions are appropriate’.

“When I challenged him specifically about citizens living in the other part of this island in the North, he replied that, ‘yes, it is my view that people living outside the State who are Irish citizens should have the right under certain circumstances to vote in presidential elections’.

“Does this mean that the Taoiseach supports the right of Irish citizens in the north to vote in Presidential elections? Only he can clarify this.” 

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