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Vote for enfranchising the Irish abroad in Presidential elections

On 12 March 2017 the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Enda Kenny, announced that the government plans to hold a constitutional referendum in 2018 on the issue of voting rights in Presidential elections for citizens living outside the state, to apply from 2025.  Ireland is one of the few European countries not to provide voting rights for citizens living abroad.  In 2013 a report of the Irish Constitutional Convention recommended the introduction of votes for emigrants and for citizens in Northern Ireland in presidential elections.

Read newspaper coverage in the Irish Times here. Listen to a radio interview with the Taoiseach when he made his announcement, followed by an interview with EUDO Citizenship/GlobalCIT consortium member, Professor Iseult Honohan on the general issues of votes for citizens abroad.   

The government has published a discussion paper listing seven alternative ‘options’ in the scope and implementation of this extension of voting. In addition to citizens in Northern Ireland, the options include: all citizens, only first generation emigrants, and only first generation emigrants with a time limit abroad. This paper was initially discussed at a session of the Irish Global Diaspora Forum hosted by the Irish government in Dublin on May 4 and 5, which was addressed by the minister responsible, Simon Coveney, who has since emphasised that while the process has started, this will not apply before the presidential election of 2025.

For details of current and past electoral legislation in Ireland visit our country profile pages.

For a comparative overview of electoral rights at different levels consult our CER 2015 database and ELECLAW 3.0 indicators.