The Diyespora



They can’t be here to vote…

David Burns writes:

Under Irish electoral law, the vast majority of emigrants are excluded from voting in the upcoming referendum on May 22.
Our legislation is amongst the most restrictive in Europe regarding an overseas vote. 60,000+ emigrants can potentially vote under law if they return home but most Irish abroad are disenfranchised.
This video from the recently launched “#BeMyYes” campaign puts out a message from across the world from those people – including James Vincent McMorrow, Peter Stringer and Laura Whitmore.

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30 thoughts on “The Diyespora

  1. Eamonn Clancy

    I think people who don’t live here shouldn’t have the opportunity to make decisions on how we are governed.

    1. Peadar

      I actually agree. I would be a yes voter all the way if I lived in Ireland, but could you imagine if the tens of millions of conservative catholics in America who are entitled to an Irish passport were all allowed to vote? They already send huge amounts of money to the Iona institute and their ilk.

      1. Don Pidgeoni

        Or, you know, you could have something in between being completely cut off if you say, happen to be on holiday versus letting anyone from anywhere vote.

    2. Lu

      I don’t disagree – however this is a completely legitimate way for those abroad to demonstrate their will and try to influence the electorate. It’s particularly keenly felt for the Marriage Referendum because so many of us who are abroad are young people and young people are typically far more supportive of Marriage Equality.

    3. 21secondstogo

      Nonsense. What about the thousands of people all over the world who will be back in a year. Should they have no say? Or those who lived here for 30 years but may never come home? Should they have no say anymore because they were forced to leave?

      1. Jane

        I could be persuaded by those who are away for a number of years but plan to live here at some point as soon as possible, but for people who will never live here again? I’m not really sure that they need a vote.

      2. pedeyw

        If you’re not going to live here again then no, you absolutely shouldn’t get a say in what happens. Why should you?

  2. Desert Fox

    I’m away, won’t be able to travel to vote. Would vote yes if I could vote.
    But the likes of the celebrities mentioned below can absolutely afford to fly home to vote. Mentioning them as diaspora who can’t vote is counter productive.
    The reason for expats not having a proper vote is the massive vulnerability to fraudulent votes.

    1. ahyeah

      Not really. The reason expats aren’t permitted to vote comes down to the Rousseauian notion of democratic right that everyone affected by a decision should have an equal say in the making of that decision. And those not affected shouldn’t have a say. Traditionally, when people emigrated, they were unlikely to ever return – it would have been unfair and undemocratic to allow those people determine the rules and systems impacting upon other people. That’s changed now, so there’s a case for permitting those living abroad to vote. I actually think it’s fair enough to require people to return to Ireland to vote – at the very least, it’s a crude measure of whether the person does still still have some level of attachment or investment in Ireland.

    2. Lu

      Stringer has been in Bath since 2013 – he is no longer entitled to vote, I would imagine the same is true of Laura Whitmore and James Vincent McMorrow. In fairness, it’s a lot easier to sneak into the polling station after years away when you’re not a household name.

      1. collynomial

        A person who with ordinary residence in Ireland is entitled to vote. A person ceases to be ordinary resident if they have lived outside of Ireland for three consecutive tax years. Peter Stringer is thus entitled to vote.

    3. collynomial

      You seem to be equating the word celebrity with the words feckless millionaire layabout. Diaspora are in other countries typically because they have work in those countries. Moreover, I would sincerely doubt that those mentioned above have as much money in the bank as you seem to suggest they do.

      1. Desert Fox

        I’m sure they can afford a Stanstead to Dublin return flight without causing huge dents in their bank balances.

  3. Jane

    I have one misgiving about this – that’s that none of us gets two votes. These people are inviting us to be their yeses – but what about being our own yeses (or noes, if appropriate)? I don’t plan to be anyone’s proxy in this referendum. I’ve made my own mind up and I’ll vote for me using my single vote. Who is supposed to be persuaded to use their vote for someone else? Surely if you could be bothered going to the polling station at all you couldn’t possibly be that ambivalent?

    1. Nially

      Loads of ambivalent “Yes” votes. Soft support for “Yes” is one of the main features that’s been discussed in every poll so far, and one of the biggest fears the Yes campaign has is that young voters just won’t be arsed to show up on the day. Every bit of motivation to get out and vote helps, even if it’s “I’m wrecked and just want to go home, but feckit, I’ll do it for [X person I know / Random Celebrity]”

      Can’t speak for this campaign, but I know emigrants (and various people who are out of the country on holidays) who’ve been lining up “Yes” votes from people who otherwise wouldn’t be arsed.

      1. Kieran NYC

        Huge numbers being reported as getting on the register today. We could be surprised with a large turnout and a big YES vote yet! :)

  4. Bort

    I will be on holiers in so I filled out my postal vote form last Thursday, to my surprise I had to be away for work reasons, I am self employed so I decided it was a work holiday. I had to have the form witnessed by a guardian of the peace. I brought it to Pearse Street Garda station which led to a 10 minute confused debate as to wether they were guardians of the peace or not until. Finally one Garda literally said “feck it” I’ll sign it. After a much wry smiling the Garda was convinced I was going to Amsterdam for work reasons, off I went and sent it to City Hall

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