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Sunday 25 August 2019

Referendum to be held to extend Presidential voting rights to citizens abroad

President Michael D Higgins
President Michael D Higgins
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy (Brian Lawless/PA Wire)
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Irish citizens abroad will be able to vote in the next Presidential election if the proposal passes a referendum planned for later this year.

January 1, 2025 is the proposed date for the law to come into effect if there is a ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum.

This would be in time for the next race for Áras an Uachtaráin, due later that year.

Housing minister Eoghan Muphy - whose department has responsibility for elections – brought the text of the 39th Amendment of the Constitution Presidential Elections Bill 2019 to Cabinet today.

This is the legislation needed for the holding of the referendum planned for October or November, provided it passes through the Oireachtas in time.

Mr Murphy also sought Cabinet approval for setting up a referendum commission for the planned vote.

Separately, Mr Murphy sought approval to set up a new Electoral Commission and to draft legislation to create the new agency.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy (Brian Lawless/PA Wire)

It comes on the back of the commitment in the Programme for Government and a subsequent public consultation process.

The Electoral Commission’s functions will include oversight of the security of the electoral process; research and advice; and registering political parties.

It will also provide oversight and staff for referendum commissions and regulate political funding and election spending.

Many of the functions of the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) would be transferred to the new Electoral Commission under the proposals.

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