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    What’s happened to Fine Gael’s pre-election promise on embassy voting?

    By Noreen Bowden | May 20, 2011

    Fine Gael’s pre-election promise regarding embassy voting in Presidential elections has apparently been forgotten.

    On Wednesday, Sinn Fein TD Mary Lou McDonald (Dublin South Central) asked the following question:

    The Taoiseach made a pre-election promise on political reform to give voting rights to the diaspora for the presidential election. Will the Government consider fast tracking legislation to afford a right to Irish citizens living in Ireland, but outside the 26 Counties, to participate in the election of the first citizen?

    The response from Taoiseach Enda Kenny? Eight disappointing words:

    “There is no legislation promised in this area.?

    This despite the fact that in the 2011 general election, Fine Gael included this commitment in their manifesto:

    Fine Gael will reduce the voting age to 17 and give eligible citizens the right to vote at Irish embassies in the Presidential election. If this experiment is deemed a success Fine Gael will consider extending this practice to general elections.

    This commitment, while vague in its lack of specification as to who the “eligible citizens? were, was a clear signal of intent to allow voting rights for citizens abroad. Comments from politicians such as Simon Coveney seemed at the time to indicate that Fine Gael actually meant it.

    The formulation of this commitment in the programme for government, however, was disappointing. In the programme, the government bounced the issue of embassy voting to the proposed Constitutional Convention, saying

    We will refer to the Constitutional Convention the issue of reducing the Voting Age to 17 and giving citizens the right to vote at Irish embassies in the presidential election.

    This despite the fact that there is currently no constitutional prohibition on voting rights for the Irish abroad.

    Meanwhile, Ireland remains the only country in the EU with no option for emigrant voting, and the number of countries allowing their emigrants to vote continues to grow. Every week, it seems, brings news of another country committed to facilitating their expats to vote, with Haiti and Nigeria being among the latest to announce upcoming implementations of diaspora voting.

    Topics: Latest News | 5 Comments »

    5 Responses to “What’s happened to Fine Gael’s pre-election promise on embassy voting?”

    1. Seosamh Ó Galúnaí Says:
      May 23rd, 2011 at 10:54 am

      In all honesty did anyone really expect the likes of a politician to deliver even on such a simple to implement commitment?

    2. Seosamh Ó Galúnaí Says:
      May 23rd, 2011 at 11:00 am

      It seems he can neither remember the promise, even though it is recorded in their manifesto, nor is he aware that the constitution does not prohibit such a measure. Such are the people who currently stand for election, and amazingly get elected. Life in the Dáil, Seanad or whatever is infinitely preferable to working for a living. Ask any TD.

    3. Bosco O Farrell Says:
      July 11th, 2011 at 4:24 pm

      File the above under Roscommon Hospital pre – election Fine Gael promises. They have already thrown one of their own overboard , on the basis that even written and verbal pre-election are null and void once they are in power.

    4. Daithi O Lunasa Says:
      June 1st, 2012 at 8:40 am

      So absolutely nothing has changed ?? Well I didn’t expect it to. Same voices, same faces…leading us to slow death and ruination for the next 20 years. Will we ever recover ?? Only with the help of those Irish abroad who can see how the world really works. Irish Politicians go abroad for booze and sight seeing. They come home with nothing but hangovers and a loss of memory, as to who they actually talked to and what about…. business ?? Be gorra… I thought it was a holiday ( probably the 6th of 7th at that stage ). A NO vote in Ireland actually means ” lets have another vote til they say YES “. Corrupt as ever. The only people who will benefit from YES vote are the usual suspects that brought us into this present crisis. But, apparently, it is easier to see this when you are out of the country..?? Wonder why that is ? !!!

    5. Daithi O Lunasa Says:
      June 1st, 2012 at 8:54 am

      By the way…. I read somewhere that WE ( expats ) tend to lose touch with Ireland when we are away ????? I have never been more in tune with it and try to find out about it every day… I am more interested in it now than I ever was. Whoever wrote that probably had lost faith while living there so couldn’t see it anymore anyway. We have been and are still being blinded by the closed door corruption and dirty deals going on in the background. Ireland’s people’s future for generations is at stake here, not some Bank or corporation. When that is fully realised you will be surprised at how many ‘ Expats ‘ will return with knowledge from abroad in Business, Banking, Communications and the rest. Sometimes it is good to disperse and gather knowledge in order to re-group once again and get ready for the next 50 years of world changing. It is bigger than Europe, Enda….much bigger. Look outside the box for once in your life. Don’t be scared or bullied by the present…just get away from it all and see it from a completely different and exciting angle.
      Slan and good luck..!!