New legislation initiated by Jimmy Deenihan, the Junior Minister for the Irish Diaspora, will allow Irish passport holders living in diaspora to vote in Irish elections. Irish Central reports:
The matter of voting rights at home for the hundreds of thousands who have left Ireland in recent years has been a constant matter of protest among groups of expats around the world. Last month, during the cabinet reshuffle, for the first time in Ireland’s history, Jimmy Deenihan was tasked with the role of Junior Minister for the Diaspora.
The new Minister has said that there are “well over a million” people with Irish passports living abroad.
Deenihan said that along with having a say in Ireland’s presidential elections, this Senate initiative could be be part of a revitalized approach towards representing Irish passport holders abroad and inviting investment.
Speaking during a think-tank session with local tourism and service representatives in Youghal, Co Cork Deenihan was responding to a suggestion that providing Irish passport holders abroad with voting right would enhance their “sense of belonging” to the country. It would also encourage them to visit home, a fact which was demonstrated by the ‘Gathering Ireland 2013.’