Sinn Féin spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, today offered his welcome for the decision by the government to recommit to a referendum on extending voting rights for Irish citizens living outside the state.
The Wicklow TD said:
“I welcome the decision by the government to hold a referendum on extending voting rights to Irish citizens abroad in presidential elections.
“Over a quarter of a century ago, President Mary Robinson began the practice of placing a light in the upstairs window of Aras on Uachtarain to light the way home for Irish emigrants.
“President Higgins continues with this tradition.
“This is a symbol, a beacon of light, born out of old Irish traditions of leaving a light in the window to guide people home in the night.
“We now have the opportunity to add substance to symbolism.
“There is significant support across the political spectrum for the extension of voting rights.
“I know that I, and my colleagues in Sinn Féin will work closely with all groups and organisations committed to the rights of the Irish diaspora to ensure that a referendum will be successful.
“A recent opinion poll has shown that a majority of Irish people support the idea that voting rights in presidential election be extended to all Irish citizens.
“I think the next step is for the government to lay out a timeline as to when a referendum can take place safely.
All areas of Irish life, from our civic society, the diaspora, and our political parties have the opportunity to organise, to convince and to mobilise our communities, our families and friends and the wider electorate in order to ensure that we have the opportunity to extend the franchise in Irish presidential elections to all Irish Citizens across the globe.”