For too long, the Irish State’s attitude to those forced to leave the country has been “Out of sight, out of mind.” But emigration is a central fact of Irish life, a fact that has to be acknowledged in the political system. With the Government committed to establishing a constitutional convention, this is the time to put firmly on the agenda the question of how not whether the voice of emigrants can be heard in Ireland’s political institutions
Ireland is out of step with 115 countries around the world in not enabling its citizens abroad to participate in national elections, depriving them of a voice or a role in shaping the future of their country. At a time when thousands of Irish people are once again being forced to emigrate from Ireland due to catastrophic mismanagement by politicians, bankers and speculators this is a fundamental injustice that needs to be rectified.
I warmly welcome this initiative, and have to say it is long overdue. For far too long Irish governments, although wanting all our citizens abroad to be ambassadors for Ireland, scant regard has been given to us in a voting capacity. This initiative is long overdue and very welcomed and you certainly have my support.
I would like to support the campaign for Votes for Irish Citizens Abroad.
We of the Diaspora remain Irish Citizens and qualify for or hold an Irish passport. Under EU law we also qualify for an Irish Retirement pension had we a stamped N.I. card for the work we were engaged in before we left for a temporary stay in England. Therefore as citizens recognised by European law we should not be denied a vote in our own country.
I am delighted to endorse/sponsor the VICA campaign. The rights of Irish citizens living outside the country are being trampled on by denying them to opportunity to vote in elections. Other democratic countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, allow their citizens who live elsewhere the right to cast a vote.
It is even more galling for Irish emigrants to be denied the vote when so many of them have been forced in recent years to leave the country due to their own government’s inadequate economic policies. The Irish government must relent as soon as possible and allow every Irish passport holder the right to vote.
It is clear not all Irish citizens abroad will want to vote, however, those that will, are that part of the diaspora who take an active interest in their homeland and its well-being and will bring the experience of exile and the benefit of new ideas to their choices.
I am pleased to support the campaign for Votes for Irish Citizens Abroad, as implementation of this would bring us into line with many other democracies, and would recognise the role played by many Irish citizens who live outside the country in supporting the future development of Ireland.