West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Calls for extention of Presidential election voting rights

Published: 21 September, 2011

Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff has called for the extension of voting rights in Irish Presidential Elections to all the people of Ireland. Mr McElduff was joined by an MLA from each other county in the North to call for this right.

Speaking today at the Assembly Barry McElduff said:

"The upcoming Irish Presidential has once again brought into the spotlight the denial of the right to vote for Irish citizens living in the North of Ireland. It has been more sharply in focus since Martin McGuinness has entered the race.

"Both Mary McAleese and Martin McGuinness both have been faced with the situation that they can be nominated and stand for the position of Uachtarán na hÉireann and indeed, when successful represent Ireland on the international stage yet they cannot vote in these elections.

"The Good Friday Agreement enshrines the rights of the people in the North to hold Irish citizenship but they are not entitled to vote choose our President and the Dublin government is perpetuating that discrimination.

"Fine Gael made a manifesto commitment in the last election to allow Irish citizens to vote in presidential elections in embassies around the world and we want this extended to include the north. I am calling on them now to enact this pledge.

"An amendment to the constitution is all that is required to allow the citizens of Ireland to vote for the President of Ireland. It is a right that must be forthcoming if not for this presidential election, due to the tight time frame , but most certainly for the next."