Photo credit: The Irish Labour Party (CC BY-ND 2.0

Plans for referendum on letting Irish diaspora vote to be announced

The government are planning to announce a discussion on holding a referendum which would allow Irish citizens living abroad to vote in Presidential elections.

The referendum itself is expected to take place in 2024, just in time for the next Irish Presidential election, which is expected to take place in 2025.

According to Fine Gael Minister of State for the Diaspora Colm Brophy, there will be a “civic forum” in Spring of next year during which time the Minister will virtually meet members of diaspora to discuss the plan, and other issues.

The suggestion was outlined in the Programme for Government by the three coalition parties of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.

According to the Irish Examiner, Brophy said that it was important the message stayed clear so that people knew what they were voting on.

“Referenda in this country in the past, regardless of what topic they were on, can be lost because of a lack of information or a clear message of what people are being asked to endorse,” he reportedly said, adding that recent presidents have been a very positive voice for Irish people.

“If you think about the presidency and recent presidents and the way in which they have conducted the office, they have been very strong and positive on being a voice for Irish people no matter where they are in the world and not just being the president for the people on the island of Ireland but also president for all Irish people no matter where they are in the world.”

The plan would allow Irish-born citizens to vote by post from abroad in countries like Canada, America or Australia.

However, some have raised concerns that opening up the electorate to the entire globe would make it far more difficult for smaller candidates to campaign, and would result in a situation where only wealthier candidates with the money to advertise abroad could possibly win.

Gript previously published an OpEd on the proposal, which can be viewed below.

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