Tag Archives: #hometovote


The queue to get into Ireland at Dublin Airport on the eve of the same sex marriage referendum last week

You’ll recall the Irish citizens living abroad who returned to vote in the same sex marriage referendum last Friday.

Further to this, Morning Ireland returned to the campaign by We’re Coming Back which advocates voting rights for Irish citizens living abroad.

Conor O’Neill, of We’re Coming Back, spoke on the show and said: “I think all the politicians who lauded their efforts [the people who returned to vote last Friday] they should take that attitude to Dáil Éireann  and they should legislate so it doesn’t have to happen in the future.

Jimmy Deenihan, minister of state with responsibility for Diaspora Affairs, then spoke to host Cathal MacCoille about the issue.

Cathal MacCoille: “Where exactly, because this has been considered, a decision promised and then a decision delayed. So where exactly is this in terms of, in Government terms?”

Jimmy Deenihan: “Well, first of all, thank you Cathal for having me on this morning. I think this is a very important issue and, certainly, I have been travelling around the world for the last year and it comes up again and again and also there was a review of diaspora policy, following the Global Economic Forum in November of 2013. And 130 submissions were received. And, in many of those submissions, the strong case was made to have votes in Presidential elections, especially, and as a result of that the Government asked the Constitutional Convention to consider…”

Cathal MacCoille: “We know this, that was 2013, what I’m asking is where are we at now? Is anyone in Government considering this? What’s going to emerge?”

Deenhian: “Of course, yeah but they voted 78% that there would be votes in Presidential election, they didn’t say, I suppose where or how they would vote or who would vote. So it was considered by Cabinet and Cabinet decided that there would have to be further issues clarified. So the Cabinet asked the Minister for the Environment, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and myself to have a look at some of the logistics involved, policy matters, practical matters and, at this moment of time, that engagement has taken place. Our officials are considering the many challenges. But, it’s for the Presidential election – that was what was recommended by the Constitutional Convention – so the next Presidential election is 2018 so there is plenty of time in order to clarify the challenges here to ensure that when we do go a referendum that people will understand exactly what they’re asked to do because, as you know Cathal, a number of referenda failed over the past three years, four years because of lack of clarity so…”

MacCoille: “But what you’re saying, I think, is that this is something you favour: a vote for Presidential elections. And although a decision was promised on this, it’s been delayed and delayed again. That, effectively, between now and the next election, this is a dead issue? Right?”

Deenihan: “Well the Taoiseach was quite clear in saying there would be no further referenda between this and the next election. But obviously there will be plenty of time to put it in place before the next Presidential election. And there are other issues aswell. For example, in Germany, you can be on the register for 25 years and still continue to vote [after you move abroad]. In England, it’s 15 years, in the UK. In Ireland here it’s 18 months for example. That’s why so many people could come back to vote because they would be on the register. So there are other issues. And then the Seanad working committee, for example, suggests or proposed that people with Irish passports living abroad could vote in any of the five panels of their choice..”

MacCoille: “What do you think of that idea?”

Deenihan: “Well, it’s an idea up there for consideration.”

MacCoille: “I know but what do you think of it?”

Deenihan: “Personally, I think that there should be, maybe, be a representative for the Americas, that would include North, South America and Canada; one for Europe, the UK and Europe; and one for Australia and the rest of the world. So you’d have three representatives. But first of all I think we have to establish who would be voting; what is the electoral register, and that’s a challenge in itself.”

MacCoille: “Do you know how many? Possibly?”

Deenihan: “Well at this moment of time there are about a million active Irish passport-holders but there are many more that are entitled to Irish passports that probably would..”

MacCoille: “Can I put this to you, that this is a bit sad, after what we saw. The enthusiasm and the willingness to spend money and time to come back to vote yesterday [Friday], that really what you’re reporting on, for whatever reason is, 2013, the Constitutional Convention called for this. Since then, last year we had the European Affairs Committee of the Oireachtas called for it a few months ago. The Seanad Reform Committee called for it. But all that’s happening is talk. Nothing is going to happen in the foreseeable future?”

Deenihan: “Just could I clarify. The Constitutional Convention called for a vote in Presidential elections, not in the Dáil, not in referenda.

MacCoille: “But what I’m saying is, whatever the different proposals are, all that’s happening is talk. We’re not making any progress. Am I wrong?”

Deenihan: “No I disagree with you.”

MacCoille: “Then how am I wrong?”

Deenihan: “Mentally, the next Presidential election is 2018, then you can say, when it comes to then, if it doesn’t happen then, that it was all talk. So there is time to do this thing right.”

MacCoille: “The next Seanad election will be year….”

Deenihan: “The next Seanad election, but that wasn’t from the Constitutional Convention.”

MacCoille: “Yes but the Seanad Reform Committee made a proposal, spelled out how you could do it, so why not do it?”

Deenihan:No, at the same time it’ll have to be considered by Government and I’m sure that there will be provision, following the next election, for emigrant-involved, diaspora involvement in the Seanad after the next election, that can be done in different ways. It can be done by appointment aswell.”

MacCoille: “And do you think that’s a decision this Government could make and will make?”

Deenihan: “Well certainly, I think the Taoiseach is very exercised about this matter, he’s very connected with our diaspora. I’ve never seen a Taoiseach as connected so, definitely, there will be different options considered.”

MacCoille: “Ok, well, what I’m wondering is if there’ll be a decision? In relation to the Seanad?”

Deenihan: “I think one thing about this government, they’ve made a large number of decisions.”

MacCoille: “Do you expect a decision on the question of some kind of emigrant voting rights in the Seanad in the lifetime of this government?”

Deenihan: “That’s entirely up to this government.”

MacCoille: That’s why I’m asking.

Deenihan: “I’m not in Cabinet unfortunately but it’ll be a decision that government will make. Obviously..”

MacCoille: “Would you favour it?”

Deenihan: “I would favour an involvement of the diaspora, definitely, in the Seanad. How they would do it, that’s another issue.”

MacCoille: “Can that be done as far, as you’re concerned, before the next Seanad election?”

Deenihan: “Well, definitely, I think it can be done, I think we don’t have to resort to any referenda to do that but I’ve been on record going back over 20 years now, over 25 years actually, in the Dáil, it’s on record there, saying that I favour diaspora representation in the Seanad.”

MacCoille: “That’s well known.”

Deenihan: “And the Presidential election.”

MacCoille: “Jimmy Deenihan, minister for diaspora affairs, thank you very much for talking to us.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: Diaspora Rising

Correlation Does Not Imply Causation

Pic: District Magazine


#hometovote, above, by Annie West

You may recall cartoonist Annie West’s Gathering print which adorned the back of The Broadsheet Book Of Unspecified Things That Look Like Ireland (New Island) and  was  later sold to raise money for Aware.

Last Friday – as Irish citizens living abroad arrived home to vote in the marriage referendum – Annie (artist by royal appointment) tweaked the Gathering print to turn it into a new print, called #hometovote.

Now she’s selling the #hometovote prints for €50 – with the proceeds, after printing and shipping, going to youth LGBT group SpunOut.ie

Fair play in fairness.