Government must publish ‘Referendum Bill’ on Presidential Voting Rights - Ó Donnghaile
Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile has called on the Irish government to end the delay in publishing the required ‘Referendum Bill’ in order to hold the proposed poll on extending Presidential Voting Rights to citizens outside the state.
Speaking from Belfast today, Seanadóir Ó Donnghaile said;
“In 2013 the Constitutional Convention voted overwhelmingly in favour of extending votes in Presidential Elections to citizens in the north and amongst our global diaspora. Since then people have continued to campaign and lobby government on this fundamental right being afforded to those citizens.
“Despite a number of false dawns, the government recently indicated on the floor of both the Seanad and Dáil that their latest intended date to hold a referendum on the issue would be in November of this year.
“If there is to be a referendum on Voting Rights, then both Houses of the Oireachtas must pass the legislation needed for its holding - it is only right that Deputies and Senators, as well as the voting pubic in the South and citizens, get appropriate advanced sight of what precisely will be put to them in terms of the planned poll.
“At a briefing on the issue held in Leinster House on 10th July, Diaspora Minister Ciarán Cannon TD indicated that government would publish the required referendum bill the following week. As of today the text of that bill remains unpublished and therefore unknown.
“Minister Cannon’s remarks followed a commitment from An Taoiseach, on the floor of the Dáil, that the referendum bill would be published before the end of the Oireachtas term and ahead of our heading into the summer recess; again, that has not yet happened.
“The Irish government must deliver on their long-standing promises and publish the referendum bill without further delay, in order to create the opportunity for all of us to engage collaboratively, becoming positive influencers, in ensuring this referendum is won.
“Then we can deliver greater equality and rights to our citizens, no matter where in Ireland, or in the world, they happen to reside.”