Jimmy Deenihan might have been a great footballer, but he dropped the ball this week when it comes to the rights of Irish emigrants to vote.
The government launched their Diaspora Strategy on Tuesday and their Ministers will be peddling it out across the globe over the next couple of weeks. But they have kicked to touch on the crucial issues of representation for the Diaspora in the Dáil & Seanad, voting rights in Presidential, General & local elections and in referenda.
They tell us we are the best little country in the world to business in, but organising votes for the diaspora is a bit too complicated for this government to figure out.Nach aisteach é sin! Currently there around 115 countries and territories – including nearly all developed nations – that have systems in place to allow their emigrants to vote, including
· 21 African nations
· 13 North and South American countries
· 15 Asian countries
· 6 Pacific countries
· 36 European countries.
So much for ‘Is Féidir Linn’!Níor thuig mise gur duine den Diaspóra a bhí ionam agus mé ag fas anios. I knew I was a ‘Paddy’ in Huddersfield. And when I came home to Galway I was a ‘Sasanach’ in Connemara. Maybe that gives me a useful insight for my new role as Party Spokesperson on the Diaspora, agus is onóir mhór dom a bheith roghnaithe don ról sin.
Sinn Féin in Government won’t treat our emigrants as second class citizens. We unequivocally support the right of all Irish citizens to vote for the Irish President, to appropriate representation in the Dáil and a reformed Seanad, with full voting rights.
In my role as Diaspora Spokesperson I will build on the great work done by the party spokespersons up to now, in partnership with our comrades and all the Irish abroad.
Ach tá i gceist againn i bhfad nío mó a dhéanamh….
We will establish a new party working group to further develop our policy on Diaspora matters. We will liaise and consult with stakeholders on the development of the policy.
We will ensure that the policy being developed is included in any Programme for Government that the party would devise and implement.
Until then, we will ensure that the Irish Government is held to account and encouraged to take on any policy initiatives Sinn Féin brings forward.
We will ensure that the party, through our membership and elected representatives, keeps Diaspora issues on the agenda and looks for positive reforms in the institutions and organisations within which we are represented.
Tá an meas céanna againne ar shaoránaithe na hÉireann, cuma cá gcónaionn siad.
We cherish all the children of Ireland equally, no matter where they live.
Sinn Féin will uphold their rights.
We won’t drop the ball!