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Extend voting rights for true international engagement – Ó Clochartaigh

12 January, 2015

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Diaspora Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has urged the Government to take heed of the recommendations as laid out in the Constitutional Convention and hold a referendum on voting rights in Presidential elections for the Irish abroad.

Ó Clochartaigh has said that the extension of voting rights would strengthen ties with the Irish Diaspora in the most meaningful way.  His comments coincide with a three day meeting of Irish Ambassadors in Dublin which commences today.

Ó Clochartaigh said;

“With senior diplomats gathering to discuss the theme of ‘representing the global island’, it seems an opportune time to highlight the need of Irish people living overseas to be represented when it comes to elections in their native country.

“With more than 120 countries having provision to allow non-resident citizens to cast their vote, it is time that Ireland started showing similar regard for our Diaspora. This is particularly pertinent as so many Irish have left because of economic circumstances and maintain very close links with their country.  These people deserve a say in the future of Ireland.

“Sinn Féin has long advocated for voting rights of Irish abroad in Presidential elections as well as extending it to elections in the Dáil and Seanad.  It is not enough for the Government to call on the Diaspora for support of events such as the Gathering and 1916 Commemorations. What would foster true inclusion would be to extend our voting rights to the Irish who are now residing in countries all over the world.

“Irish ambassadors are recognised for their services in fostering links with Irish citizens at home and abroad. By holding a referendum to allow the extension of voting rights to non-resident Irish, the government have an opportunity to further strengthen ties with the Diaspora, and offer meaningful engagement with citizens who are living across the globe.”

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