THE LACK OF representation of Irish emigrants at the Constitutional Convention in Dublin has been condemned by Irish abroad.
The Irish government has been criticised for giving the impression abroad that “the emigrant is not important, even though the emigrant dollar clearly is”, in an editorial on popular ex-pat website IrishCentral.com today.
An Ipsos MRBI poll published in the Irish Times earlier this week suggested there is strong backing for giving Irish citizens who live abroad the right to vote in presidential elections.
Some groups argue that Irish emigrants should be allowed to take part in all votes in Ireland, including general elections, referendums, local elections and presidential elections – although this suggestion has been met with some opposition.
The issue is set to be examined by the Constitutional Convention which meets for the first time next weekend – however, there is no emigrant representative on the committee.
“Ireland badly needs to get in line with international consensus and provide its emigrants with a means of taking part in elections in the country of their citizenship,” the piece in IrishCentral.com read. “Successive Irish governments have always maintained a healthy distance from the diaspora, never fully comprehending its priorities, its perceived foibles or its intent.”
“The result has been many missed opportunities to build the links that are so vital to Ireland at a time of maximum distress in the old country,” it added.