Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed the decision by the Cabinet to approve a Bill to hold a referendum on Presidential Voting Rights.
The Referendum, which is scheduled for October, is to extend the right to vote in Presidential elections to citizens in the diaspora, including to citizens in the North.
Gerry Adams said:
“In 2013, the Constitutional Convention agreed that Irish citizens in the North and the diaspora should have the right to vote in presidential elections. In November 2015 the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs also made a recommendation to extend the voting rights, following criticism by the European Commission.
“Last October, the Taoiseach announced that a referendum on this issue would be held in May. This was later postponed to October.
“I want to welcome the Cabinet’s approval today of a Bill to allow that referendum to go ahead. That Bill should be published immediately and the government needs to set out the timetable its introduction and processing through the Oireachtas.
“At a time when the British Home Office is disputing the right of Irish citizens in the North to be recognised as citizens, this is a crucially important piece of legislation.
“Irish citizens living and working outside of the state, and in the context of the Good Friday Agreement, those living in the North, should be able to vote in Presidential elections.
“The diaspora is a fundamentally important part of the Irish nation, in both historical and contemporary terms. Extending voting rights and allowing the Irish diaspora to express their democratic voice is a sensible and inclusive action which would improve and strengthen our relationship with the diaspora.”Attachments area