Archive | December, 2010

Ireland has most restrictive expat voting rights in EU

21 Dec

Europeans Throughout the World has produced a handy chart of emigrant voting rights across the EU that I’ve been meaning to post for quite some time.

The whole chart is very much worth a look – I’ve just pulled out one section of the data below, the answer to the question of whether expats are allowed to vote at national elections, but the chart also covers such information as means of voting, eligibility to vote for MEPs, special advisory bodies and more. Ireland, of course, is the only country with all “No’s” across the board.

European Country – Vote at national elections?
AUSTRIA –  YES
BELGIUM – YES
DENMARK  – (YES) but with many restrictions
ESTONIA – YES
FINLAND – YES
FRANCE – YES
GERMANY  – YES – but only within countries of Council of Europe
GREECE – NO (subject to change following recent European Court of Human Rights decision)
IRELAND – NO
ITALY – YES
LUXEMBOURG – YES
SPAIN – YES
NETHERLANDS – YES
POLAND – YES
PORTUGAL – YES
ROMANIA – YES
SLOVAKIA – YES
SWEDEN – YES
SWISS – YES
UNITED KINGDOM – YES (Voting right is lost after 15 years abroad – this time limit is being challenged by a Spanish-based UK citizen.)

See the chart.

Visit the Europeans Throughout the World website.

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Irish Post: “Votes for Emigrants”

20 Dec

The Irish Post has carried an article on Irish emigrant voting rights by Peter Geoghegan. In it, the UK-based journalist describes his assumption that he could come home to vote, and his subsequent disillusionment upon learning that this would be illegal.

He concludes:

Given the current political turmoil in Dublin a legally binding resolution permitting Irish men and women abroad to vote is highly unlikely before the next general election.

But the campaign to extend the franchise should not wait until there is a new administration installed in Government Buildings. I wonder how many people in Ireland are aware that emigrants are excluded from the democratic process? Surely it’s time to remind them of this sad fact.

Read the full article on www.peterkgeoghegan.com.

 

Journal.ie poll shows majority favour emigrant voting rights

20 Dec

An online poll now going on at thejournal.ie website is currently showing that about 60% of respondents favour emigrant voting rights, with only 38% saying those who leave should lose their vote.

The question asked is “Do you think Irish citizens living abroad should be able to vote in Irish national elections?”. As of now, with nearly 500 respondents, the results are:

  • 50% say, “Yes, without conditions”
  • 11% say, “In some circumstances, such as Seanad only”
  • 38% ticked, “No, they don’t live here anymore”

The poll was prompted by a mention of a Sunday Times article by Eleanor Fitzsimons entitled “Diaspora demand their say” on yesterday’s Marian Finucaine programme.

Visit thejournal.ie for more.

Sunday Times: “Diaspora demand their say”

19 Dec

The Sunday Times carries an article on the emigrant voting rights issue, written by freelance journalist Eleanor Fitzsimons. Entitled “Diaspora demand their say”, the article mentions GlobalIrish.ie. It begins:

Ireland will hold a general election early next year, and this has reignited a debate as to whether the country’s sizable diaspora should be allowed to vote in it.

According to the law, those not “ordinarily resident”, that is living in Ireland on 1 September in the year before the voting register comes into force, cannot cast a ballot in Irish elections.

Recent economic difficulties have led to the return of extensive emigration. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) reports that, in the period 2006-10, emigration reached a level that had not been seen since the late 1980s.

Read the entire article on the Sunday Times website (behind a paywall).

The article was discussed by academic and political reform advocate Elaine Byrne (who also gave GlobalIrish.ie a mention) on Marian Finucane’s Sunday news programme on RTE Radio 1.

Edited to add: The article has also been posted on PoliticalReform.ie.