Government pushed on voting rights
Published 31/12/2010 | 05:00
Moves to grant Irish voting rights to British citizens based in Ireland were initiated 30 years ago.
The development played a major part in 1980 contacts between Taoiseach Charles Haughey and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Mr Haughey told Justice Minister Gerry Collins: "I attach considerable importance to this as I wish to be able to point to progress when I next meet the prime minister. I would be glad if you could indicate a provisional timetable for the various stages in the preparation of legislation on the matter."
An official from the Taoiseach's office said the inclination was to confer voting rights in national elections on the British in Ireland by legislation without handing them other rights.
Mr Collins pointed out that many of the people affected merely wanted the right to vote -- rather than going as far as seeking Irish citizenship. He also stressed that there was no register of British people living in Ireland.
The Department of Foreign Affairs legal division gave the go ahead for the plan.