Are you an Irish citizen who is living abroad? Or are you home in Ireland with friends or family living abroad?
You and your family and friends are not alone. Well over 300,000 Irish citizens have emigrated from Ireland since 2008. Proportionally this is the emigration rate in the EU. Yet, unlike most EU member states, Ireland doesn’t give voting rights to its citizens who live abroad.
Irish politicians should know that people at home and abroad want Irish citizens abroad to be able to vote in elections in Ireland – as is their right as Irish citizens.
How you can help
1. Share the link to our general election site on Facebook and other social media: http://www.vica.ie/election-2016/
2. Tweet about the issue using the hashtag #emvote along with #ge16. You can follow us on Twitter at @VICAcampaign.
3. Most importantly, please ask your friends and family to raise the issue with candidates who knock on their doors. We’ve put together a small postcard with some questions and background information that may be useful.
In the run-up to the general election I would like to remind you that, unlike the vast majority of EU member states, Ireland completely disenfranchises its citizens living abroad. This state of affairs is all the more striking when you consider that Ireland also has the highest rate of emigration in Europe. The painful impact of emigration on communities across Ireland is something that all Irish politicians are aware of, while at an international level, they must engage with the highly anomalous nature of Ireland’s position in not allowing these emigrants to votes in elections and referenda from abroad.
In a time when it has never been easier for Irish citizens abroad to maintain their deep-rooted connection with Ireland and their knowledge of Irish current affairs, Ireland’s denial of voting rights to these citizens is absolutely unacceptable.
In September 2013, the Constitutional Convention voted in favour of giving Irish citizens abroad a vote in presidential elections. As a candidate seeking election to the Dáil, I call on you to put pressure on the next government to respect and deliver on this issue.
While emigrant voting rights in the presidential elections could be viewed as a step in the right direction, this concession alone will not bring Ireland into line with the majority of EU states in terms of emigrant voting rights. To do this, Irish citizens living abroad need to be able to vote in Dáil elections. As suggested by the London-based campaign group, Vote for Irish Citizens Abroad (VICA), this could be achieved through the introduction of reserved constituencies for citizens abroad, as in France and Italy.