Convention to consider emigrant voting rights

Friday 16 March 2012 10.04
Campaigners say any Irish citizen living overseas should be entitled to vote back home
Campaigners say any Irish citizen living overseas should be entitled to vote back home

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore has confirmed that the issue of voting rights for emigrants will be dealt with in the upcoming Constitutional Convention.

Speaking on a special online edition of Morning Ireland about and for the Irish overseas, Mr Gilmore said the debate would be limited to presidential elections.

Mr Gilmore said that some way will have to be found to give recognition to the Irish abroad, and in particular to recent emigrants.

Whether this would extend to granting emigrants the right to vote in elections here, he said, was a matter that will be discussed by the convention.

Campaigners say any Irish citizen living overseas should be entitled to vote back home.

But opponents say the sheer numbers involved could distort domestic election results and there should be no representation without taxation.

Mr Gilmore said the Government had decided to look at the issue of votes for emigrants for presidential elections only as part of the convention.

He said aside from the sheer numbers, there were other practical issues too around how it could work, given that Ireland has embassies in only 54 countries.