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Referendum on vote in presidential elections among key priorities in new diaspora strategy

Addressing barriers facing emigrants who are returning home is another key commitment in the strategy.

Image: Shutterstock/a katz

THE GOVERNMENT HAS announced a new diaspora strategy which sets out how it will support Irish communities abroad over the next five years.

A referendum on extending the right to vote in presidential elections to Irish citizens, wherever they live, is listed among the key commitments along with addressing barriers facing emigrants who are returning home.

The other key commitments are:

  • Ensuring that the most vulnerable overseas Irish communities are supported;
  • Seeking pathways to legal migration to the US and solutions for undocumented Irish citizens;
  • Promoting opportunities for the next generation of the diaspora to work and study in Ireland.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the new startegy celebrates the 70 million people around the world who are Irish-born or of Irish descent.

“It cherishes their diversity, champions our connections with each other and seeks to give our diaspora a strengthened voice within Irish life, while also setting out the many ways this government will work to support the Irish abroad,” he said.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said holding a referendum to extend voting rights in Presidential elections to Irish citizens outside the State provides an opportunity to engage all citizens around the world in Irish democracy.

“It underlines the importance attached by the government to making the presidency an office which truly represents all the citizens of Ireland,” Coveney said.

Details of grants totalling £5.4 million (€6 million) to support the Irish community in Britain were also announced. 

The grants were awarded to 105 organisations in Britain this year to support a range of projects in the government’s Emigrant Support Programme.

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A Covid-19 response fund was also set up to help welfare and community organisations meet the immediate needs resulting from the pandemic.

Minister of State for the Diaspora Colm Brophy said the response of the Irish community in Britain to the pandemic has been “remarkable”. 

“I know that many organisations came together on a regional basis and have been assisted by volunteers from the wider Irish community to deliver this vital support,” he said. 

About the author:

Ceimin Burke

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