No Irish votes from abroad

Credit WikiCommons

Credit WikiCommons

IRELAND is one of only three EU countries without provisions in place to allow citizens to vote abroad.

Ireland joins Malta and Slovakia in not providing for the postal vote, voting by proxy, voting in their relevant embassy, or e-voting.

The recently-established ‘We’re not Leaving’ (WNL) campaign has enshrined in their youth charter the demand:

‘That young people who have been forced to emigrate must have the right to vote in elections in Ireland.’

Speaking to News Anois, Joseph Loughnane – an active member of the campaign – said the government would be unlikely to introduce provisions for the Irish abroad to vote.

He said Irish people who have recently emigrated ‘wouldn’t be likely to vote for establishments parties like Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail’, as they may feel it was ‘their policies that forced them to emigrate in the first place.’

He said the reluctance of those who have recently emigrated to vote for these establishments parties would make the government ‘hesitant’ to take steps toward introducing systems for them to vote in Irish elections.

Loughnane compared the recently-emigrated to the significant cohort of Irish-Americans in the US, who would likely be ‘more conservative voters’.

The government press office – speaking to News Anois – referred to the scale of the Irish diaspora, which they called ‘a logistical issue’ concerning the introduction of postal votes or other schemes for Irish emigrants.

The ‘rights for citizens abroad and citizens in Northern Ireland to vote in presidential elections’ has been discussed by the Irish Constitutional Convention. A report is being finalised.

The European Parliamentary Research Service’s infographic can be found here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/eplibrary/InfoGraphic-2014-European-elections-national-rules.pdf

Eoghan McNeill

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