By Stephen McKinley
Irish emigrants will still not be able to vote in Irish elections, after the new Report of the Task force on Policy regarding Emigrants made no recommendation to change voting rights in Irish elections for Irish emigrants.
Currently Irish people living abroad cannot vote in Irish elections, as British and American citizens may do by proxy or postal ballots. Only Irish citizens resident in the Republic of Ireland may vote.
In its research, the task force said that while “the issue of votes for emigrants was raised by a small number of people, there was no consensus on how best to address the issue.”
A separate committee, the task force report notes, considered the matter afresh in March 2002, and found in favor of the status quo.
The All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution concluded that “the right to vote in D_il elections should remain confined to citizens ordinarily resident in the State, and to such other classes of resident as are determined by law.”
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It continued: “The taoiseach, in nominating senators, should include among his or her nominees a person or persons with an awareness of emigrant issues. For reasons similar to those set out in our discussion of Northern Ireland representation, the committee believes that the right to vote in presidential elections should not be extended to emigrants at the present time, nor should the right to vote in referendums be granted to emigrants.”