Enda Kenny outlines plan for referendum on extending presidential voting rights

At the Irish Memorial in Philadelphia today, Enda Kenny announced a referendum is on it's way.

The move was recommended by a Constitutional Convention in 2013.

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has welcomed An Taoiseach Enda Kenny's announcement that a referendum on Presidential voting rights for Irish citizens in the North and across the world will take place.

"I am especially pleased to be making this announcement as we prepare for our worldwide celebration of St Patrick's Day and of all that is Irish".

The referendum will be limited to the issue of a vote in presidential elections only, and not in local or general elections, or referendums.

Mr Eastwood said that the role of President is about representing not just the state, but the Irish people, and that citizens in the North should have a voice in choosing that person.

With the recent stepping up of debate about a Border Poll and the constitutional future of the north it is interesting (though I suspect coincidental) timing to see the Taoiseach Enda Kenny announce that a referendum will be held on the right of Irish citizens overseas and in the north to vote in future Presidential elections.

Initial plans for the referendum were announced previous year and were broadly welcomed across the political divide.

He said in order to have an informed public debate, the forthcoming government paper would set out the range of options available to give effect to the convention's recommendation.

"It is an opportunity for us to make our country stronger by allowing all of our citizens resident outside the State, including our emigrants, to vote in future presidential elections".

  • Larry Hoffman