Monday 19 March 2018

Push for emigrants to be given voting right

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

IRISH citizens living outside the country, including in Northern Ireland, should be given the right to vote in presidential elections, the Government's constitutional think-tank has recommended.

An overwhelming majority of the 100 members of the Constitutional Convention backed proposals to extend the vote to Irish emigrants.

The recommendations will now go to Government, which will decide within four months whether to hold a referendum on the issue.

Of those polled at the conference, 78pc said voting rights for presidential elections should be extended to those living outside the Republic.

A further 73pc agreed that residents in Northern Ireland should be allowed to have their say on the next Irish president and 38pc said there should be no limit on the length of time someone has lived outside the island of Ireland.

Members of the Irish diaspora in Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Northern Ireland and the USA also contributed to weekend convention meeting in Malahide, Co Dublin, via video-link to give delegates an insight into their views.

The views of 2,500 Irish citizens living abroad were also considered as part of an online survey.

Convention chairman Tom Arnold said: "This is an incredibly important issue that is hugely relevant to thousands of Irish citizens living all over the world and this was very clear throughout the entire process."

Irish Independent

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