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Fianna Fáil & Fine Gael kick Presidential Voting Rights down the road once more – Ó Donnghaile

30 November, 2016 - by Niall Ó Donnghaile

Speaking after bringing a motion in front of the Seanad on the extension of Presidential Voting Rights to the people of the north and the Irish diaspora, Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile said:

“Today we sought to enfranchise Irish citizens with the most basic tenet of any democracy, the right to vote. This demand is a long-standing one that comes from our energised global diaspora and the outworking of the Good Friday Agreement almost twenty years ago.

“I take some small heart from Minister Coveney’s stated commitment during the debate that he hopes to ultimately deliver on this issue; however, Fine Gael’s amendment to our motion, in practical terms, appears to delay this urgent and much-needed democratic change even further. That is unfortunate, it is regressive and it will not be well received amongst those Irish citizens in the north and the diaspora who continue to be left behind by this government.

“Fianna Fáil must explain why, as of last night and immediately before today’s debate began this afternoon, they were voting for the Sinn Féin motion, then at the eleventh hour of the eleventh hour, they defied their own stated party policy, as well as the overwhelming desire of the Constitutional Convention, and collaborated with Fine Gael to once again long fingered this issue of fundamental rights, equality, entitlement and citizenship.

“It is up to Fianna Fáil, when they travel around the Irish diaspora next St. Patrick’s Day or actually deliver on their long-standing intention to seek election in the North, to tell Irish citizens why they support the continued denial of their rights.

“For our part, Sinn Féin will continue to stand for the rights of Irish citizens in the North and amongst our diaspora until they are treated as full and equal citizens by the government.

“We have every confidence that this issue has the broadest possible range of support amongst many shades of political, social, cultural and artistic aspects of life both here in Ireland, as indicated by the recent votes in both Mid-Ulster and Derry City and Strabane District Councils, as well as within the Irish people spread throughout the world.” 

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