Irish citizens resident outside the State will be able to vote in the 2025 presidential elections if a referendum on the issue passes.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced at the weekend that the Government had taken a decision to move forward with plans to hold a referendum to give the right to vote in presidential elections to Irish citizens abroad, including those in Northern Ireland.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Minister of State for the Disapora Joe McHugh said there are a range of options to be considered and these will be published in a month's time.

"I certainly would be hoping that we have a rational and informed debate over the next number of months to see what is the best option."

He said some options are "ultimately divisive" but that this was a commitment to "fast forward to a referendum", adding that 2025 would be the first presidential election with the changes in effect if passed.

Mr McHugh said there are an estimated 1.8 million citizens outside the State and a potential electorate of 1.87 million in Northern Ireland.

There would have to be an examination of how people could vote from abroad, including the possibility of registering and voting online, he added.

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has said he is enthusiastic about the proposal to allow Irish citizens overseas vote in presidential elections, because he likes the idea of the presidency being about more than the State.

The minister has said the Government has made a decision in principle to put this to referendum, and discussions will take place in the coming months about how it can be done.

"Will it be postal vote? Will people have to show up in polling stations? Will the person ever have had to have been resident in Ireland? And will it be linked to passports or not, because a passport is not the same thing as citizenship."

He said other countries do it, and it is quite normal to include citizens overseas and including them in presidential elections is the perfect way to do it.

"I can understand why people may not want it for parliamentary elections because the Dáil and the Seanad decide what our laws and taxes are, and if you don't live in the State, you are not bound by them," Minister Varadkar said.

"The presidency is something different. I love the idea of the presidency being transformed into a presidency for the whole Irish nation, and we are a global nation."

Seperately, last Friday, a consultative group comprised of RTÉ, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the umbrella organisation Irish in Britain and representatives of Irish community in Britain issued a statement of agreed recommendations in respect of RTÉ's Longwave radio service.

The service will now continue until closure by June 2019 and in preparation, RTÉ plan to launch a replacement service on DAB+ digital radio.