Taoiseach ignores rights for Irish citizens in North, says Belfast Seánadóir Ó Donnghaile
Belfast Seánadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile has accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of “flatly ignoring” his questions in the Seanad today on extending Presidential voting rights to Irish citizens in the North.
Speaking after questioning An Taoiseach on the floor of the Seanad, Niall Ó Donnghaile said he was “infuriated” by the Taoiseach’s attitude to Irish citizens in the Six Counties.
He said this is becoming a trend amongst Irish Government ministers “who seem to think that all-Ireland only applies to GAA matches”.
“On two occasions this year already, Minister for the Diaspora Joe McHugh has indicated the Irish Government will move to hold a referendum on voting rights for the Diaspora in early 2017.
“I asked An Taoiseach to confirm that this referendum will include extending the same right to Irish citizens living in the North, as supported by the Constitutional Convention and a broad range of political, civic and community life in the North.
“An Taoiseach simply ignored these direct and very modest questions. He refused to confirm whether or not citizens in the North will have the most basic entitlement of citizens – the right to vote.”
Seánadóir Ó Donnghaile added:
“Irish Government inaction and lack of clarity around the rights of Irish citizens in the North will cause deep concern amongst the broad lobby for voting rights.
“This issue is not going away.
“I expect the Taoiseach to have a comprehensive plan of action when he returns to the Seanad before Christmas as well as clear answers to questions about the rights of Irish citizens living in the North of Ireland.”