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O’Neill demands action after Electoral Office warns ‘Irish citizens won’t be allowed to vote’

21 February, 2019 - by Michelle O'Neill

The Electoral Office must take immediate steps to repair the damage it caused by wrongly warning electors they would lose their right to vote in some elections if they change their nationality status to Irish, Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill has said.

The Sinn Féin Vice President was commenting after an Electoral Office letter indicated that Irish citizens would not be permitted to vote in Westminster elections.

Branding the correspondence ‘a clear breach of the Good Friday Agreement’, Michelle O’Neill also revealed that she raised it with the British Government.

Michelle O’Neill commented: “I have seen an official Electoral Office letter sent to an elector in Downpatrick warning them that because they have changed their nationality status to Irish that they no longer have a right to vote in certain elections.

“That is entirely wrong. It is unacceptable and is, in fact, a clear breach of the Good Friday Agreement which provides the right of everyone in the North to Irish, British or dual citizenship.

“With this correspondence, the Electoral Office are riding roughshod over that agreement and warning that hundreds of thousands of Irish citizens in the North will be disenfranchised.

“I raised this matter directly with the British Secretary of State Karen Bradley who has confirmed that the Electoral Office warning is entirely erroneous.

“Unfortunately, this is not the only example of misinformation from the Electoral Office which has issued other false warnings to electors in different areas across the North.

“Whether they need to provide training to their staff or implement disciplinary measures, the Electoral Office now has a responsibility to repair the damage it caused by wrongly issuing this correspondence.” 

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