Extending The Franchise


In London this weekend?

Alan Flanagan writes:

At this Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in London, the Votes for Irish Citizens Abroad  (VICA) campaign will be marching to celebrate the contribution of Irish emigrants and to call for a Yes vote in this year’s referendum on Presidential voting rights.

We believe that each citizen deserves a vote, and Ireland should move in line with 34 other European countries by extending the franchise.

VICA’s focus this year is on campaigning for a YES vote in the Autumn referendum to extend Presidential voting rights to Irish citizens abroad – in other words, a #voteforthevote.

Votes For Irish Citizens Abroad

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21 thoughts on “Extending The Franchise

  1. Unimpressed

    What’s this for?

    To make it easier to rig elections? (Postal votes are the easiest to corrupt)

    It’s certainly not for the good of the citizen who pays their taxes here. People who don’t live here now telling us who will will be in the administration? It’s the EU all over again.

    Feck off.

    1. phil

      Presidential elections have nothing to do taxes, is it just Irish citizens who immigrate or is there anyone else you would like to disenfranchise?

      1. Daisy Chainsaw

        When you see the dregs that ran in the last Presidential election, it’s understandable to keep the voting to people who live her and who know what’s actually going on and not some greenwashed version peddled on social media.

        We could have been stuck with President Gallagher and President Casey. That alone is enough for me to advocate for a No vote.

    2. Rob

      I totally gree with this. Why should we let people who don’t have to live with the consequences have an influence on our lives?
      Same with them giving out when they decide to return, when they want to insure a car, that they have to start with zero no claims bonus as they have not paid into the system to benefit from a bonus.

      1. Nigel

        For presidential voting rights? We’ve always as a country prided ourselves in our connection with our diaspora. This seems like a perfectly good way of allowing them to participate in our democratic process without giving them any sort of excessive say in how we actually run the country.

        1. Unimpressed

          If you want to vote in an Irish election then you need to live here as an Irish citizen.

          To suggest any other franchise arrangements for any Irish election is to suggest treason.

          No joke.

        2. Rob

          For any sort of influence in this country. How much will this cost to set up?
          We’ve always been fed to have pride in our diaspora by the media. Its fairy-tale stuff really. Ive had family and friends emigrate during the tough times. I don’t believe they deserve the right to vote for anything in this country.
          Are you perfectly happy to send govt ministers to every corner of the world on an expensive little jaunt every year?
          What benefit does this give us? Surely this is why we have ambassadors stationed abroad?

          1. Nigel

            I don’t know. I would like to see it costed.
            It IS fairy-tale stuff, and it’s rather good fairy-tale stuff, a massive extended national family across the globe. I think it speaks very well of us.
            I am very happy to see our government ministers engaged in that kind of outreach, making connections and building goodwill abroad, even if I do not like the ministers themselves very much. It’s invaluable.
            Everybody has ambassadors abroad. Not everybody has a national holiday that involves heads of state meeting our representatives all over the world.

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      If I were to be persuaded to vote Yes, the legislation would have to have a caveat like that.

  2. Votes for Irish Citizens Abroad

    Over 100 countries worldwide allow their citizens abroad to vote in their country of origin. As a citizen abroad, if I get into trouble abroad, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has a duty to assist me. As a citizen abroad, I return home to help care for eldery relatives, help out family members and whether or not I can return to Ireland is impacted by the policies of the Irish government. As an Irish citizen abroad, what happens in Ireland affects me, my future and my loved ones who do live in Ireland! If you’re interested in finding out more about the common issues raised regarding votes for Irish citizens abroad, check out our blog :-) http://www.vica.ie/uncategorized/6-myths-about-a-vote-for-citizens-abroad/

    1. Brother Barnabas

      how many of those 100 counties have a diaspora the size of Ireland’s? in your myth-busting, you cite canada’s experience as proof that there’s little risk of ‘swamping’. the thing is: canada has a home population of almost 40 million, but just 2 million eligible voters outside Canada. Ireland has a home population of less than 5 million, and almost as many abroad. could absolutely distort our election results.

      1. Votes for Irish Citizens Abroad

        Our mythbuster reports how less than 0.006% of Canada’s 2 million citizens abroad voted in elections in Canada. A recent govt report (https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/libraryResearch/2019/2019-02-28_spotlight-overseas-voting-in-presidential-elections-representative-democracy-electoral-integrity-and-the-situation-in-eu-states_en.pdf) estimates there are about 3.6 million Irish passport holders abroad. Going on the experience of countries like Canada, we would expect about 22,000 of these citizens abroad to actually vote. It is only the most dedicated and involved of these citizens that will actually go to the bother of using that vote. Debates in Ireland have a lot to gain from inviting in the energy and ideas of Irish citizens abroad. We can achieve more together.

        If you think about it, it’s funny how the Irish abroad are romantically and sentimentally celebrated in our culture and, even every evening on RTE 6.01 news this week (in the run up to St Patrick’s Day) – and yet, there is a lot of hostile backlash when we suggest inviting these citizens to have a say in who represents Ireland. It’s a striking juxtaposition of reactions!

        1. The Old Boy

          There are more than half a million Irish citizens in the north who very clearly cannot be lumped in with émigrés when it comes to estimating potential turnout. Ultimately what your campaign’s figures show is that allowing all citizens to vote will be more or less entirely about whether people in the North can vote in Presidential elections. The issue of votes for citizens “abroad” is an insignificance in comparison.

  3. The Old Boy

    Given that there are about three and a half million Irish citizens resident outside the state, and probably many more who are entitled to Irish citizenship, elections to the highest office in the land would become a national joke if every passport holder could vote. The problem is working out a sensible system of limitation. Do we let the man who left Kerry for Boston in 1954 vote, but not the woman who has lived all her life in Newry?

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