The Green Party have welcomed comments by An Taoiseach that voting rights in Dáil elections should be extended to people who have left the country for only a few years.
The Taoiseach is reported as saying, “It’s wrong that our diplomats and soldiers can vote when overseas but those working for the IDA or Tourism Ireland cannot.”
The Green Party has called for legislation to maintain voting rights for up to five years after a person moves outside of the state for issues related to work or study. The party is also calling for EU citizens living in Ireland for five years or more to be given the right to vote in Dáil elections.
“Including recent emigrants, and everyone who finds themselves abroad at the time of an election, can only be a good thing. We’ve had a habit in this country of turning our backs on emigrants the minute they go through the departure gates. The experience of the Home to Vote campaign in the marriage equality and the repeal referendums show they haven’t turned their backs on us.
“In the era of Brexit too, we also need to look at the extending the vote to EU citizens here. The success of the European Union in Ireland has ironically created an anomalous situation where European citizens, permanently living here, don’t have a Dáil vote. Some of the most engaged people in our society and economy are denied a voice on national matters. For anyone with a French work colleague or Polish neighbour, it can come as a source of embarrassment that they are excluded from elections in this way.
“The Green Party is calling for EU citizens resident five years here to be given the same voting rights that British citizens currently have in Ireland. This is the mirror image of extending the postal vote to recent Irish emigrants. Neither require a referendum. The Green Party already has draft legislation ready to move both these issues forward if there is genuine support from the Taoiseach.”
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