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  • India to allow expat vote as Irish interest grows

    Friday, January 8th, 2010

    India is working to join the 115 countries around the world that allow their expats to vote.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday told the 1,500 delegates attending the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas gathering of the Indian diaspora that he hopes that the government will be able to facilitate non-resident Indians (NRIs) voting in the next general election.

    “I recognise the legitimate desire of Indians living abroad to exercise their franchise and to have a say in who governs India,” he said.

    “We are working on this issue and I sincerely hope that they will get a chance to vote by the time of the next regular general elections. In fact, I would go a step further and ask why more overseas Indians should not return home to join politics and public life as they are increasingly doing in business and academia.”

    The Indian move is part of a growing international trend to allow expats a voice in their home political systems. India’s engagement with its diaspora has frequently been cited by Irish policy-makers as an example of good practice, so it will be interesting to see what impact the granting of voting rights to NRIs will have on the debate here.

    Although perhaps “debate” is too strong a word. As Mary Hickman stated at the recent Irish Diaspora Seminar hosted by UCD in London, the issue of emigrant voting rights is taboo in Ireland. As the Irish Post reports this week, however, it is attracting rising interest among emigrants. With the recent upsurge in emigration and increased public discourse on the issue of political reform, it seems likely that the issue of Irish emigrant voting rights will take on greater importance in the future.

    And although nearly every country in Europe and most in the developed world already allow emigrant voting rights, India’s leadership in the arena of diaspora engagement will make its granting of expat voting rights difficult to ignore.

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    Irish nun recognised for work in India

    Monday, March 30th, 2009

    An Irish nun has been recognised in Carlow for her fifty years of working with the poor in India.

    Sister Cyril Mooney (72), A Bray native who moved to India when she was twenty, runs programmes in Calcutta aimed at helping street children.She was honoured in Carlow by the Friends of Calcutta group, who organised a “This is Your Life” tribute. It was attended by over 200 people including the Indian ambassador.

    Sr Mooney has previously received one of India’s highest honours, the Padma Shree; she is one of the few foreigners to be so honoured.

    Read the report in the Irish Times:
    Irish nun honoured for 50 years of helping street children of India