Convention recommends votes for Irish abroad in Presidential elections
on 29/09/2013 13:21:06
The Government must now decide whether to hold a referendum.
Brian Reynolds from Ballotbox.ie is suggesting a five-year limit on voting rights for Irish citizens abroad.
A detailed report will now be compiled containing all of the evidence that was presented over the weekend and the recommendations of the Constitutional Convention will go to Government.
The opinions of representatives of Irish communities living in Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Northern Ireland and the USA were heard live via video link-up.
Tom Arnold, Chairman of the Convention of the Constitution, said: "Over the two days, we witnessed a very thorough and detailed examination of the issues associated with extending Presidential voting rights to citizens who are resident outside of the State.
"This has been a powerful weekend where we utilised new technologies to gather a broad range of views and opinions on the subject from around the world. Through our live video link-up with representatives of Irish communities in various parts of the globe, we were offered a unique and powerful insight into the views of the diaspora on citizenship and their thoughts on the extension of voting rights.
"This is an incredibly important issue that is hugely relevant to thousands of Irish citizens living all over the world and this was very clear throughout the entire process. At the outset, we actively encouraged Irish citizens all over the world to engage with the issue and offer their views.
"We were astounded with the size of the response and the strength of opinion on the issue. In preparation for this weekend, we considered thousands of these responses and built them into our analysis.
"Following this outcome, we will now be lodging a formal report with Government notifying them of the recommendation of the Convention regarding Presidential voting rights for Irish citizens who are resident abroad."
The questions asked of the members were:
Should citizens resident outside the State have the right to vote in Presidential elections?
On this question members voted:
· Yes - 78%
· No - 21%
· Undecided - 1%
Should citizens resident in Northern Ireland have the right to vote in Presidential elections?
Here Convention members decided:
· Yes - 73%
· No - 20%
· Undecided - 7%
Which of these citizens living outside the island of Ireland should have the right to vote in Presidential elections? (Mark X in ONE box)
o All Irish citizens resident outside the island of Ireland
o Just citizens who have lived in Republic of Ireland.
o Just citizens who have lived in Republic of Ireland as adults and who have left for a period of time (see below)
o Undecided/No opinion
On this, members voted:
o All Irish citizens resident outside the island of Ireland - 36%
o Just citizens who have lived in Republic of Ireland - 26%
o Just citizens who have lived in Republic of Ireland as adults and who have left for a period of time (see below) - 27%
o Undecided/No opinion - 11%
If there should be a time limit on how long citizens resident outside of the island of Ireland can have a vote, what should that be? (Mark X in ONE box)
o No time limit
o Voting rights only for 5 years abroad or less
o 10 years
o 15 years
o 20 years
o 25 years
On this, members voted:
o No time limit - 38%
o Voting rights only for 5 years abroad or less - 14%
o 10 years - 17%
o 15 years - 20%
o 20 years - 6%
o 25 years - 4%