Senator Billy Lawless welcomes announcement of Referendum on voting Rights for Irish Abroad

Senator Billy Lawless today welcomed the announcement by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny that a Referendum is to be held regarding voting rights for Irish citizens abroad and in Northern Ireland in Irish Presidential elections.

As the first Senator for the Global Irish and a co-founder of – a coalition of groups and individuals dedicated to advancing the cause of emigrant voting rights – Senator Lawless has wholeheartedly embraced the announcement stating, “Ireland, with over 1 million emigrants living across the globe, has one of the most restrictive voting policies of any State. If 25 of the 28 EU nations can afford their citizens abroad the right to vote then why can’t we?”

“This core issue transcends normal partisan politics and speaks to the very nature of Irish citizenship in a nation whose very constitution under Article 2 states: it is the entitlement and birth right of every person born on the Island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish nation,” he said.

The nation as whole benefits when the diaspora is welcomed more fully into our body politic and the wider Irish family across the world is united in welcoming today’s move by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

“I look forward to discussing the details of the Referendum at the upcoming Global Irish Civic Forum in May and commit to campaigning for a positive result”, said Senator Lawless.