Presidential voting rights by 2025?

With the recent stepping up of debate about a Border Poll and the constitutional future of the north it is interesting (though I suspect coincidental) timing to see the Taoiseach Enda Kenny announce that a referendum will be held on the right of Irish citizens abroad and in the north to vote in future Presidential elections.

The decision was agreed by Cabinet last week and momentous as this may be I suspect that it will come too late for the next poll due in 2018. Cynics among us may suspect that this announcement has been stalled for that very reason.

So Irish citizens in the north should be able to vote for the President in the year 2025. Patience is a virtue indeed.

The logistics of this will be another debate entirely. However it will be interesting to see how unionists react to this and their positioning during such a referendum. Given the role of President is largely symbolic will any unionist leader stick their head above the parapet and state that there is nothing to fear from such a change and that it will be a sign that unionism can be accommodating of people with an Irish identity in the north by not challenging such a move from Dublin?

Answers on a postcard.

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  • Roger

    Kenny didn’t say “Irish citizens abroad and in the north”. “The north” is abroad. It’s in the UK, not Ireland. Just like Wales.

  • Conchúr Ó Conghaile

    You’d be quare confused if you ever go to the village of Pettigo. Half of the village is ‘abroad’ to you.

  • Jollyraj

    Like Alsace?

  • Nevin

    Enda in Philadephia: “That is why I am delighted to be announcing today that the Irish Government has decided that Irish citizens resident outside the State, including in Northern Ireland, should be allowed to vote in Irish presidential elections. ..

    If the referendum is passed, it will also involve significant work to determine new eligibility rules, to draw up legislation and to implement a new electoral register and new voting procedures for all of our citizens.”

  • Conchúr Ó Conghaile

    No the wine isn’t as good.

  • burnboilerburn

    It’s great news but Kenny’s timing is atrocious. Arlene must be fit to be tied.

  • chrisjones2

    Gerry just has to hold on until he’s 77

    We await the new strap line – a United Ireland by 2025

    While poor Mary Lou gently weeps

  • burnboilerburn

    Geographically you are incorrect, Armagh, Antrim, Down, Fermanagh, Tyrone and Derry most definitely ARE in Ireland.

  • Nevin

    bbb, if you read Enda’s two speeches in Philadelphia you’ll see that his Ireland is the state, not the island.

  • SouthernMan

    This is just FG trying to get ahead of events. They see the writing on the wall and they don’t want SF to get the credit for a UI.

  • 1729torus

    The NI Assembly might be granted the ability to elect a delegation of observers to the Seanad by STV, so long as least an absolute majority of MLAs take part. Like the German Bundesrat, India’s Rajya Sabha, or South Africa’s National Council of Provinces.

  • Jollyraj

    That’s fair 🙂

  • Fear Éireannach

    While you be allowed to go the Netherlands to campaign for votes?

  • burnboilerburn

    Ireland is an Island, A Nation and a State.

  • burnboilerburn

    When I was 24 I swore I would have a healthy college degree before I was 35. As it turned out I was 42. Having a target goal is good, if you miss it so what, set a new target.

  • Jag

    I think the timing of the announcement might have more to do with Enda’s legacy and his last hurrah on St Patrick’s Day duty in the USA. Next week, he’s expected to stand down; he is, after all, a liar, or as Dep Paul Murphy said after Enda apologised for giving a misleading account of a recent ministerial meeting, Enda has “a casual relationship with the truth”.

    This acknowledgement of the gigantic Irish diaspora is all about Enda’s legacy.

    Hilarious to see some Nordies getting their knickers in a twist, but, fair enough, it is another milestone along the road to reunification.

  • chrisjones2

    Nope sorry ….in law its the Republic

  • chrisjones2

    ..and to you old chap

  • Gingray

    But HE did mention giving voting rights to those in Northern Ireland. Not sure why you are denying this across 2 blogs?

  • burnboilerburn

    Proud Republic too

  • catholicus

    Strange idea from Kenny. Party most likely to win presidential election would surely be Sinn Fein.

  • William Kinmont

    Pettigo Shepard dogs

  • Jollyraj

    Wonder if there’s an Arsene Wenger lurking there just waiting for a shot 🙂

  • Roger

    “Irish citizens abroad and in the north” implies that “abroad” is something distinct from what Northern Ireland is. It isn’t. Northern Ireland is not in Ireland; it’s in the United Kingdom.

  • Roger

    English Burnboilerburn; a fantastic language, where words have more than one meaning.
    “Irish citizens abroad”
    “and in the north”
    Persons in Northern Ireland are abroad. There is no need for the “and in the north”. They are covered already by “Irish citizens abroad”. So very clearly, we are talking about jurisdictions. No ambiguity. Not islands.

  • Roger

    Nevin, that’s exactly what I thought he would have said…And it is 100 per cent correct. He certainly did not say “Irish citizens abroad and in the North”. Irish citizens abroad includes Irish citizens outside Ireland, “the State” being referred to by Kenny. Let’s go through his words again:

    “Irish citizens outside the State [in other words per the article,” Irish citizens abroad”], “INCLUDING in Northern Ireland”. Not “AND in Northern Ireland”. Northern Ireland is “abroad”. It’s not in some funny third category. Articles 2 and 3 are gone. It’s in the UK, plain and simple.

    And of course, he didn’t refer to “the North”. He referred to “Northern Ireland”. So he didn’t say the things the article said he said.

    Precisely.

  • Roger

    Oh yes, so amazing, unique and confusing…Nothing like it elsewhere…Nothing like say Schengen…..

  • Roger

    I wonder how many Nordies would be interested enough to register and vote….It’d be interesting….Make for good TV if lots of them register and there has to be campaigning in UKNI. Actually, it would liven the thing up. Presidential elections are a second order election and this might add a bit of an extra element to it….Not sure I agree with it in principle, but it might be entertaining.

  • Roger

    I’m against. Most Nordies say they don’t want a united Ireland and I think most of those who do say they want it at some time in the future and not now.
    In the circumstances, I don’t see why they should get representation.

  • Roger

    I don’t see a UI on the cards.

  • Roger

    Well, that’s half a story but piques my interest…one wonders why it took you so long….But glad you got there.

  • Df M

    During the boom years the Irish government was not so interested in the diaspora and granting voting rights. After the crash, the tone changed overnight and suddenly Irish officials abroad were keen on engaging with the diaspora and getting the Irish overseas to help out, invest etc. So this belated initiative is to be welcomed and will bring us into line with many other EU states.

  • 1729torus

    I specifically said an absolute majority of MLAs had to agree to participate in the vote to ensure the will of the population is respected.

  • Jollyraj

    “the Irish Government has decided that Irish citizens resident outside the State, including in Northern Ireland”

    Yes, it is clear enough what he is saying – that NI is outside the state of Ireland. And why wouldn’t he. It always makes politicians look ridiculous when they refer to Northern Ireland as ‘the North’.

  • chrisjones2

    The Roman Emperors did the same thing. Bread and Circuses

  • chrisjones2

    Perhaps Arlene in 2025

  • chrisjones2

    FF also jumped on the carousel …which will go round and round and nowhere

  • chrisjones2

    Ok……. a united ireland by 3025 then

    Within the new British Empire

  • NMS

    His John A Costello moment – without the drink for an excuse.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Change your Tarot reader, Roger, to someone actually “with the gift.”

  • burnboilerburn

    Irish people dont even consider Britain as ‘avroad’ never mind the north

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Growing up here in the 1950/60s, Roger, I never heard the term “abroad” used at any point whatsoever for the rest of the island in my own family’s milieu. It tended to always be used for “overseas”, although we (certainly my Unionist relatives) politely maintained the fiction that those people just “over the water” were somehow not classifiable as “overseas” despite the fact that we clearly had the Irish Sea between us, but it might just help to examine the many pitfalls attendant in any attempt at catagorisation. I’d recommend Foucault’s “Les mots et les choses: Une archéologie des sciences humaines.” He shows quite openly how contingent most catagorisation really becomes in practice.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Just a tiny bit of “disrespect” present in this pedantic insistence on Ireland being used as teh political entity only and in ignoring the common usage for most people, of its geographic sense, which is what Enda was clearly saying here.

    Regarding my use of “disrsepect’, Part 6 of the “Constitutional Issues” section of the Belfast Agreement text clearly committs us all to:

    “recognise the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both, as they may so choose, and accordingly confirm that their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship is accepted by both Governments and would not be affected by any future change in the status of Northern Ireland.”

    This hard insistence on such people as elect for an Irish identity being somehow not in “their own country”, but living “abraod” as foreginers in a polity entirely defined by only one of these choices is not in any sense in keeping with the spirit of the Belfast Agreement.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Republic” or RoI, is only popular usage. “Ireland” is the legal political entity.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    No wine touches Alsace, except a fine Burgandy white. I’m quite unfamiliar with the Pettigo vineyards myself.

    There’s an interesting (and very funny) book by my friend Tomi Ungerer about his childhood in Alsace during the occupation years.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tomi-Childhood-Under-Ungerer-1998-10-04/dp/B01FJ1I3WQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1489396896&sr=8-3&keywords=Tomi+%3A+a+childhood+under+the+Nazis

    Highly recommended for those of us who may just see the parallels. Tomi, incidently, lives and works in County Cork.

  • Enda

    We went to Bundoran, every year for holidays when I was young. Having two sisters, and no brothers I always found the idea a bit tedious and unless a cousin was coming along for company, I never really looked forward to it.

    Maybe if my parents had of said we were going abroad for holidays instead of 80miles west I would have taken to it a bit more.

  • Brendan Heading

    No. based on the last assembly election they’d be adding at most 220,000 SF votes. It’s unlikely that even if they all registered and voted that it would get an SF President over the line. It would certainly be interesting, though, to see what way everyone transferred.

  • Enda

    I find if I introduce myself as being Northern Irish, or from Northern Ireland, i feel a bit ridiculous. Although not as ridiculous as if I introduced myself as being British, it would sound as ridiculous as telling someone I was Brazilian.

  • Gingray

    Roger
    I get that for you everything needs to fit into a nice little box that can be labelled with acronyms, but the real world is not like that. There are multiple shades of grey and Northern Ireland falls into that.

    Since the GFA, the UK Government, and via referendum, people North and South on Ireland, recognise that anyone born in Northern Ireland can claim Irish citizenships.

    This might help:
    https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/about-northern-ireland

    Pretending that there is not a distinct difference between Irish citizens living on the island of Ireland, albeit in the North, and those Irish living abroad (ie not on the island), is just plain silly.

    Thankfully the Constitutional Convention (which determined that voting rights should be extended) drew out a clear distinction between the Irish in Northern Ireland, and Irish abroad.

    Two very different groups.

  • Enda

    If a badger’s set is in a field in Emyvale, and it wanders a few miles to Aughnacloy one night, has it suddenly become a British badger?

    I find the pedantic nature of people to be equally amusing and annoying. These jurisdictions are separated by nothing more than legislation written on paper. Man made, rule abiding nonsense.

    Just because a dog takes a pi55 on a lamp post, doesn’t mean it actually owns the lamp post.

  • Nevin

    bbb, I was referring to Enda’s 26-county state mindset; the oft used ‘island of Ireland’ phrase didn’t even get a look-in.

  • Nevin

    Enda, ‘abroad’ doesn’t seem to feature in my mind-set. I didn’t even name the country/state when I travelled to Dublin, London or Edinburgh. I’ve never been to Cardiff and I understand Bundoran is a bit like Portrush!

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    Will you relax ffs. Nobody gets on your back for using the term “UKNI” when you post. Despite the fact you’re perhaps the only living human being on planet earth to use the term regularly. Does it matter what actual term was used, everyone gets the point

  • Nevin

    “With the recent stepping up of debate about a Border Poll and the constitutional future of the north”

    Will Micheál’s cunning plan be published on April 1?

  • burnboilerburn

    Ok Jim

  • Enda

    They are very similar indeed. I’ve never gone Mackerel fishing in Portrush, though. I’d imagine it’s just as good.

  • Roger

    The Belfast Agreement you cite led to Ireland dropping its claim that UKNI is within Ireland….In its place, Ireland included double veto provisions whereby both UKNI and Ireland would each separately be able to veto by way of referendum any cession of UKNI to Ireland. Had the Belfast Agreement arrangements not been adopted, I would have to agree with you. There would be shades of grey. After all, the formal position prior to that was that UKNI was de jure part of Ireland as a matter of Irish law. That’s no longer the case. UKNI is as much ‘abroad’ (anywhere outside the state) vis-a-vis Ireland as France or Luxembourg. Just like Luxembourg province is abroad vis-a-vis Luxembourg. Citizenship is entirely distinct.

  • Roger

    Glad you’ve found a plus in all of this…I like the positive idea. The island is such a swell place that not one but two states are situated on it.

  • Roger

    What’s disrespectful is to imply that Northern Ireland is not part of ‘the abroad vis-a-vis Ireland. If writers in the mainland UK implied Ireland was still in the UK, many Irish would likely be a bit peeved too. It’s also disrespectful not to call ‘the North’ by its actual name. Just ask Unionists about that.

    The spirit of the Belfast Agreement was the acceptance of the sovereignty of the United Kingdom over UKNI; that violent opposition to that was wrong; that any cesssion of UKNI to Ireland would be subject to prior double veto referendums in Ireland and UKNI where the two peoples could choose to endorse or block such a cession; and creating a climate of tolerance, something you’ve pointed to.

    A hard insistence that UKNI is part of the UK is entirely in keeping with the spirit of the Belfast Agreement. ‘Abroad’ is a strong term for anywhere as culturally close as UKNI or the rest of the UK, but it is no less applicable to UKNI as any other part of the UK.

  • Roger

    Luxembourg and Luxembourg province, Belgium.
    Two places abroad from each other?
    Yes, though like Ireland and UKNI, hardly Earth v Mars.
    But abroad yes; the President of Ireland, should he be elected by the votes of Irish citizens in UKNI will still need the permission of the Government of Ireland to enter UKNI just like any other place that is outside Ireland.

  • Roger

    Taking your logic, writer should have said “Irish voters abroad and in THE UK”…will have right to vote….not “THE NORTH”.

    But writer didn’t. Writer tried to bring Northern Ireland, a name he deliberately chose not to use, into some funny category which it is not in.

  • Roger

    or, I might add, to Ireland as ‘the South’ or to a lesser extent, ‘the Republic’.

  • Roger

    Don’t agree; announcing abroad made particular sense here given subject matter.
    Given it’s 2025 though, what’s impressive to me is that he kept a straight face.

  • Gingray

    UKNI – you do make my laugh with your little boxes and acronyms 🙂

    Articles 2 and 3 give every person on the island the right to be part of the Irish nation – very simple.

    You argue that someone born in Derry, living in Enniskillen, is abroad in the exact same way that a Cork born person living in France. Thats is pure and simple lunacy.

    If you cannot see the difference, that is your loss, but as we saw with CAS, being Irish from Northern Ireland legally guarantees that I am now as Irish as anyone in the South of Ireland. GFA saw the UK agree that people born in Northern Ireland could opt to be Irish citizens rather than British – very very simple.

  • JR

    This would be most welcome. Taking all the fluf aside this would be a cast iron acknowledgment of the Norther Irish as an important part of the Irish nation

  • Kevin Breslin

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have it after just after Ireland’s hosting of the Rugby World Cup?

  • banana man

    Cant see this passing judging by the comments on most forums, there is so much distain and actual hatred from many in the South towards their fellow Irishman, it is unfortunate.

  • NMS

    More likely he had nothing else to say. It seems a completely vacuous move, the referendum required should be amusing though.

  • 05OCT68

    Daithi, we got a reaction from the “moderate” UUP tonight from Tom(potential UUP leader) Elliot discounted polling stations in the North being used for presidential elections, despite the likelihood that it will be a postal ballot, and doesn’t want local TV broadcasting election material from candidates, despite the fact that RTE etc are widely available in the North. Another gift to Nationalism. What could have been an opportunity to reach out instead turned into a slap down of any thing Irish. Tom couldn’t resist the opportunity to defend NI & the Union from a non existing threat.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Roger, don’t ever take the Belturbet Clones road.

    It’ll take you days to recover.

  • Reb Shiel

    Can someone please define for me what is meant by ‘irish citizens ‘ in the north for me? Is it simply passport holders or is there further administration, and what about long term residents of the mainland UK who live here, such as myself? By 2025 I’ll have lived here for 25 years. My kids will be able to vote in such an election, but would I qualify in any way?

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    You would need to see if you qualify for Irish citizenship now Reb

  • Reb Shiel

    Yeah been meaning to for a while, as I find myself in a weird position in the event of a UI. My dad qualifies for a passport through his grandad, despite having never lived here, and my kids will qualify through being born here, but I don’t automatically qualify for one myself.

    I would like to think right to remain is secured UK and Ireland wide in Brexit negotiations, making it moot point, but if it wasn’t, could I be afforded similar rights as a UK citizen born in Ireland?

  • Skibo

    I don’t see it on the cards either, I see it in the reaction to Brexit and the further reduction in a small private sector. That along with Tory cuts to the NI budget and an enforced reduction in the public sector.

  • Skibo

    Where does UKNI come from or do you have a poetic licence?

  • Roger

    United Kingdom, Northern Ireland region.

  • 05OCT68

    I think you qualify through your father, that’s if he is an Irish passport holder, you’d be an Irish citizen born outside Ireland to Irish parents.

  • Skibo

    If UK means Great Britain and Northern Ireland are you not merely repeating yourself to say UKNI with NI being the region of Ireland still under British control?

  • Roger

    United Kingdom [of Great Britain and Northern Ireland], Northern Ireland region.

    That doesn’t repeat anything.

  • Skibo

    Sorry if you cannot see it. What are your views on the UK Scotland impending border poll?

  • Skibo

    Lime you read the Lucid Talk poll. Those for UI in the event of Brexit stood at 44.2% in December. That is before Brexit ever kicks in.

  • Roger

    I don’t think there will be a pill but if there is I don’t think UKSCOT will go for cession.

  • Skibo

    If Nicola gets it through Holyrood, Theresa would have to allow it or look very undemocratic. As for whether she can win it or not, they are starting in a much better position that the previous one and nearly succeeded in it. She is a shrewd politician and I don’t see her calling for it if she thought she couldn’t win it. Worth a quid or two.

  • Roger

    I don’t agree though accept there is some logic.

    It’s less that 3 years since UKSCOT said no to cession. Seems perfectly reasonable to me to say it’s far too early to ask again.

    Brexit vote was already scheduled when UKSCOT voted no to cession remember too.

  • Skibo

    Rodger the Indyref was held in 2014. The Westminster election was held in 2015 when Cameron stated that he would hold a Brexit vote so it was not known that there would be a possibility of Brexit in 2014. When Cameron called the referendum in 2016, there was no sense of a leave vote succeeding.
    One for the mainstays of the better together policy was that Scotland would lose membership of the EU if they went for independence.
    Brexit changes everything. The UK as a whole will go through massive change so the Scots will have to make a decision whether they want the massive change from Brexit alone or go the full hog with independence.
    The polls previous to Indyref went from around 30% to 45% by the time of the election. They are starting from 50/50 and I believe if Theresa does not start listening to Scotland, she will be fighting on two or more likely three fronts.

  • Roger

    If I’ve got when Brexit ref announced wrong, my bad. Must have a look into that.

    Yours are all valid arguments. At end of it all, my view is same. Cession is justifiably a once in a generation thing at most.

  • WindsorRocker

    I’m a bit late to this. Blame my employer.
    Unionist can be totally relaxed about this. If another state wants to give voting rights to citizens who live outside its borders then that is a matter for that state.
    This also ties in to ways is which nationalists in Northern Ireland can individually choose and exercise their allegiance to the Irish state.
    Just in the same way as the Chinese Welfare Association hosted a polling station for Poles, there are plenty of non public buildings such as GAA halls etc that would be willing to host polling places if people wished to cast a vote like that or if the logistics permitted.
    There are practical roadblocks to cranking up the full machinery of the NI electoral system for this, most notably the disparate turnout there would be across areas and the subsequent waste of resources in doing that.
    There are probably cost neutral ways the electoral office could help here and that is maybe allowing a tick box on the next canvass to ask the user if they wish their details to be passed onto the ROI government for the purposes of compiling a register of eligible voters living in NI. Simply handing over the entire NI electoral register is likely a data protection issue as people are supposed to consent to the information they give and the purpose it is to be used for.

  • willow

    But what about all those Irish Americans, won’t many of them be Shinners?