Green Party’s Ciaran Cuffe: Emigrants should retain vote for five years

5 Feb

Green candidate Ciaran Cuffe has expressed support for granting voting rights for recent emigrants. A statement on the Politics Press Release site says:

Green Party TD for Dun Laoghaire Ciaran Cuffe  today called for all Irish citizens who have emigrated to retain the right to vote in national and local elections and in referenda for up to five years.

Deputy Cuffe said: “Many people leaving Ireland today do not intend it to be a long-term or permanent move. For some people emigration is necessary to find employment during the economic downturn. For others it is a lifestyle choice. However, many share a common desire to return home again once economic and employment conditions improve. I believe that all Irish citizens who have contributed so much to the State and wish to have a genuine stake in its future political direction of the country should not automatically lose to their right to vote once they leave the country.

“Under Irish law if you are living abroad you cannot be entered into the register of electors with some exceptions for Irish diplomats, members of the defence and police forces who can apply for a postal vote. More than 110 countries allow passport holders who live abroad the right to vote, however Ireland is not one of them.”

Deputy Cuffe said: “Ireland should look at French, Dutch and British examples of where the diaspora living overseas are afforded the right to vote electronically, or by mail or at a local embassy or consulate. If it can be done effectively in other countries we can do it here.”

The Green Party and Fianna Fail had promised to make recommendations on the feasibility of voting rights for emigrants in their 2009 programme for government. Those recommendations, which were due in October 2010, were never delivered.

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