Exploiting the power of new communications technologies to gather the views and opinions of the worldwide Irish diaspora on national voting rights, Ireland has demonstrated that its own expatriates are not “detached” from their homeland but as Irish citizens want a say in its future.
Shouldn’t Britain (and its political parties) take a lesson from this in how to engage better with its own 5 – 6 million expatriate citizens worldwide and accept that a 15-year-limit on their voting rights no longer makes sense with modern communications?
As a British citizen after less than 15 years abroad you remain qualified to vote in UK national elections. However, it is important to make sure that you are still registered (as an overseas voter) via the Electoral Commission website www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.
The Irish “Convention on the Constitution” website announced on 29th September 2013 that it had voted in favour of recommending the extension of voting rights in Presidential elections to Irish citizens who are resident outside of the State, including Irish citizens resident in Northern Ireland.
As Mr Tom Arnold, Chairman of the “Convention of the Constitution”, said:
“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.
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.”
More details can be found in the press release below: