The time is right for a new debate on voting rights for Irish citizens abroad.
We’ve launched a petition to be submitted to the Irish government, and if you support the principle of emigrant voting rights you can sign the PETITION HERE.
These European countries already allow expat voting in various forms in general elections:
And in total 115 countries, including nearly all developed nations, have recognised the benefits in ensuring their emigrants remain enfranchised by giving them some form of elected political representation.
THOUGHTS ON THE IRISH PERSPECTIVE
- We are in a new era of mass emigration
- Modern communication systems allow citizens abroad to keep up to date
- Most emigrants currently leaving envisage returning to Ireland in the future
- Recent EU research shows that young Irish have a higher than average interest in politics
- Ireland is looking for new ways to engage with its diaspora
- Irelands emigrants invariably refer to Ireland as home
- We can either cherish the bond, or not!
- A healthy diaspora relationship relies on both mutual benefit and mutual responsibility
This is the 21st century and our highly educated people represent a valuable investment built up over the last 20 years or so. Are we going to close the door behind them and make the same mistakes as the past, or are we going to recognise the mutual potential that enfranchisement offers. If we can accept the economic input that the IMF brings to the table surely we can place the same or greater value on Irelands most important assets, our people.
I’m sure there are many other considerations and feel free to leave a comment. The main objective now however is to gather support and get the issue onto the government agenda. How voting rights can be implemented in a way that is fair can be identified in a review process. Structure and restrictions can be determined once the basic principle is accepted.
When you sign THE PETITION you are supporting a very simple request :
‘I believe in the principle of voting rights for Irish emigrants and I request that the Irish government identify and implement a fair system of voting rights for Irish citizens abroad.’
CONSOLIDATING OUR EFFORTS
If you’re part of an organisation or an individual with a measure of influence who also believes in the principle of voting rights for emigrant Irish please get in touch. It would make sense to combine our efforts so that any submission to government authorities can be timed in a way to give weight to that submission.
Now, let’s see what we can achieve!
Ballotbox.ie is a new site where Irish emigrants who are not allowed to vote in the forthcoming General Election can cast a symbolic ballot.
And here’s some welcome thoughts from Simon Coveney FG TD, Cork South Central:
And the speech by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, Sinn Féin Dáil Leader, at the London Irish Centre on 4/11/2010 : Voting Rights for the Irish Diaspora in Britain.