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Here are the options that could be in the referendum to give vote to Irish abroad

Any changes would likely not be in place until before the 2025 presidential election.

President Michael D Higgins
President Michael D Higgins
Image: Tran Van Minh AP/Press Association Images

MINISTER SIMON COVENEY has published the options available if Ireland is to extend the right to vote in presidential elections to citizens living abroad.

Earlier this month, Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed that a referendum would be held on the issue.

The available options include extending the vote to (note: not all will appear on the ballot paper):

  • All citizens resident outside the State
  • All citizens on the island of Ireland and all citizens outside the island of Ireland who have lived in the State for a period of time
  • All citizens on the island of Ireland and all citizens who have left the island in the previous 15 or 20 years
  • All citizens on the island of Ireland and all citizens resident outside the outside the island of Ireland who hold a valid Irish passport
  • All citizens resident outside the State who were previously registered to vote in the State
  • All citizens resident outside the State who were born on the island of Ireland
  • All citizens on the island and all citizens resident outside the island of Ireland who were born on the island or who have lived on the island for at least one year

When the government has decided on the preferred option, a constitution amendment bill will be drafted and examined in the Dáil and the Seanad.

When the bill is passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas it will be put before the people in a referendum.

A date for the referendum will be decided by the government in due course. It’s unlikely any changes would be in place prior to the 2018 presidential election, rather the 2025 vote.

Read: Referendum to be held to give Irish abroad vote in presidential elections

Read: Online voting could be introduced as part of Irish diaspora vote

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Órla Ryan

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