Correlation Does Not Imply Causation


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According to the 2013 UCC Émigré Report, 70 per cent or so of the 250,000 Irish citizens to have left our shores since 2008 were in their 20s at the time of their departure.

Polls conducted by students’ unions across a swathe of Irish university campuses have consistently demonstrated that young people are above the national average when it comes to supporting equal access to civil marriage.

Despite Ireland belonging to a tiny minority of countries that completely disenfranchise their citizens overseas, one of only three within the EU, an external vote by the time the marriage equality is brought before the polls is simply out of the question.

Given Ireland’s long history of emigration, and the long-standing connection between Irish emigration and failed economic policies, there should be some provision for emigrant representation.

Conor O’Neill and David Burns, founding members of We’re Coming Back, in today’s Irish Times ahead of Sunday’s March for Marriage in Dublin.

Emigrants want to vote in marriage equality referendum (Irish Times)

Previously: This Could Be The Last Time

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42 thoughts on “Correlation Does Not Imply Causation

    1. Jock

      I disagree. You should have no say in the running of a country unless you actually live there and face the consequences of your voting.

      1. Ahjayzis

        General elections are for the ‘running of the country’ – the constitution is about the ethos and mission of the country. One of the reasons why abortion has no place in it. And whether you’re at home or abroad for a few years you shouldn’t lose your voice.

        1. The Old Boy

          Ethos, mission, basic rights of the citizens, restrictions on the sort of laws that can be made, etc.

          I don’t think it’s a valid distinction to draw, really. Personally I’m not in favour of extending the franchise at all. Rose tinted cataracts appear far to rapidly in the émigrés eyes in my experience.

  1. Formerly known as

    The powers that be know that the people who migrate would be more inclined to vote them out of power. I know that I would vote for change.

  2. munkifisht

    Are these good points? Surely the population living in the country has more of a right to vote then those who live remotely and are not going to be effected by their voting choices, no? I say this as I write from my office in London as someone who is politically (but not, for all my trying, sexually) active.

    1. Am I still on This Island

      If emigrants are willing to contribute and dilemma tax return I don’t think there is a single issue with them voting from abroad!

      1. Nej

        It always comes back to tax, doesnt it?

        Well, do you know that I’m double-taxed, being based in an EU country and being an Irish citizen? The only reason I dont actually have to pay tax is my burden here is higher than it would be in Ireland.

        With this in mind – should I still not be allowed to vote, what with me being a citizen an all?

        1. Am I still on This Island

          Nej, not really, I am non tax resident in Ireland but have a residence here so I can vote etc, I would be happy to have to file a return in order to vote, I think in cases like yours existing tax treaties cover it and you can vote.

          I was thinking more about intentional tax exiles or as a means of contributing to the society you wish to vote on. You could have a case were someone who never intends to come back can vote

          1. WhoAreYa

            hold on a fupping minute!

            You don’t even pay tax here yet in the past you have been among other things shiteing on about whether unmarried mothers should receive benefit payments etc?

            Talk about an unwelcome parasite!

          2. Am I still on This Island

            Currently I spend less than 100 days a year in the state, so I don’t pay direct taxes but do pay indirect taxes, dirt/ property tax and some other bits.

            I will however be returning to live here full time at some point and will again be paying tax as a resident. As a voting Irish citizen I am entitled to my opinion as much as you or anyone else in the state

      2. phil

        Yes billionaires like DOB should get 2 votes , for the amount of tax they pay ….

        Oh , hang on wait a minute ….

    2. Don Pidgeoni

      Agree. You leave a place for long enough, you also leave your right to vote behind. Otherwise you could have people who left 5 years ago voting, despite have little idea of what the main issues are on the ground apart from what their family and mates are telling them.

    3. Cora

      I think the five-year window would be a reasonable compromise when it comes to referendums on the constitution.

      I can see the argument that says “if you leave, you give up your right to vote for change”. But the lack of rights I had in Ireland was part of the reason why I left. I’d love to be able to move home some day to raise my own family on Tayto and GAA and equal rights.

      At the time I emigrated, I made the judgment that I couldn’t stay put and stay sane. It was the right choice for me, but it makes me feel like shite that I opted myself out of the power to vote for change for other Irish people who don’t have the options I did.

  3. Medium Sized C

    All we need now is “We’re staying away” and “We’re Leaving” and we have covered all the bases.

  4. James Heron

    Do you really want to give a vote to right wing irish-americans?
    We’d move right back to a roman catholic theocracy within a generation!

    1. Ahjayzis

      I’d imagine there’d be a time limit. Say if you moved abroad 150 years ago after the Famine you’d probably find your descendants aren’t entitled to vote. But 5 years ago is reasonable.

      1. Don Pidgeoni

        Just because you are a citizen doesn’t automatically mean you should get a vote. 5 years is a long time. I know I knew very little about what was going on back home after I had been out of the country after about 2 years.

        1. Kieran NYC

          Yeah, but would people who haven’t bothered keeping up with current affairs be bothered to vote?

      2. andyourpointiswhatexactly

        Nope. I would insist on all Podaydo-Famine Irish-Americans having the right to vote. All 8 million of ’em or whatever people say the numbers are.
        Stir it up a bit.

  5. rotide

    Im not massively inclined to listen to a group that needed to conduct a survey to make the earth shattering discovery that young people tend to be more liberal

    As for emigrant voting, i agree with the above. If you emigrate, you lose your vote

  6. Rompsky

    I would weigh in with no vote for those abroad. Elections are there to change policies and laws for those living in Ireland, not for those who might come back some day

  7. YourNan

    stay in your country and fix it instead running away like a scared little girl. grow some balls.

    1. will-billy

      what if you are a hermaphrodite or post op transexual? you should have thought about that before posting!

  8. Planet of the Missing Biros

    Irish people become maudlin and sentimental about home when they emigrate. So their voting will not reflect how they would vote if they were living at home being complicit, conservative and docile.

  9. Clampers Outside!

    jaysus… it’s up to a period of c.5 years they are asking, some countries allow up to 10 years with a vote.

    I’d be happy to give anyone who left the country, up to 5yrs ago, the vote.

    1. scottser

      for the sham our democracy is, you could give a polling card away with every pint sold and it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference.

  10. Nikkeboentje

    I think emigrants should have a vote in Ireland until they are eligible to vote in the country they moved to (especially if the country is within the EU).
    For example, in Luxembourg you have to be resident for 7 years and then pass a citizenship test before you are allowed to vote. I have been in Luxembourg for 4 years, so I have no vote in Ireland and no vote here yet. Doesn’t seem fair that I have no vote at all.

  11. Formerly known as

    The Italians allocated some Senate seats to their diaspora, a few years ago. That gave these people a voice in their Government.

    It would be good for the Irish Seanad to have a few seats for emigrants. The current Seanad is a crock anyway. The ‘foreign’ senators would not be able to upset the gombeen democracy, so would people be Ok with that?

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