Ex-pats should already have voting rights
It appears that there will soon be a referendum to decide whether or not Irish citizens living abroad should be entitled to vote in presidential elections.
In theory, I believe that this is a good idea and I don't know how it hasn't happened already. After all, why wouldn't Irish people living abroad want to have their say in who the State's figure head should be?
Many other countries in Europe and worldwide have made this common practice and the overseas electorate is facilitated with a postal vote in many cases.
It is understood that the referendum, if passed would see a change made to the 2025 presidential election and it would be a good starting point for the inclusion of ex-pats who want to get involved in the democracy of their native country.
There was also a suggestion that the people of Northern Ireland could be extended a vote. This, I do not agree with.
After all, they are not citizens of the Republic of Ireland and so, why should they be entitled to participate in elections in the state?
I feel that the same rights should be extended to Irish citizens now living in Northern Ireland, as in any other country.
A blanket approval for all Northern Irish voters to be able to vote in Irish elections would make no sense whatsoever.
Simply because the six counties are connected geographically and due to our combined history, is not justification.
After Brexit, we don't know where we will stand regarding trade, so why would be put ourselves in a position where another country could exercise significant political influence due to population figures?
The reason that people want voting rights extended, is so that those people with an actual stake in the country can have their say.
Whether they have lived here and become and Irish citizen or intend to move back 'home' some day, they should be afforded this right.
The last decade was just the latest in our history where this country haemorrhaged young, bright people due to a lack of employment.
Many of these citizens would not be living and working abroad were it not for the economic disaster that we found ourselves in, so why should they be denied any input into the political decisions affecting their own home country?