Should all Irish citizens around the world be given a vote in presidential elections?

Ireland is set to have a referendum on whether to allow all Irish citizens resident outside the state to vote in presidential elections. This has provoked a debate, with some fearing this could lead to a distant diaspora imposing a terrible unwanted president on residents of the country. Here’s why that is not going to happen Isn’t this a radical proposal? No. Currently, Ireland is radical in the other direction. Its lack of any provision for overseas voting is internationally … Read more

Equal Citizenship in Ireland: The Right to Vote in 2018

Mark Bassett  is a barrister in independent practice at the Northern Ireland Bar and argues for us to take a look at presidential voting rights in an Irish Presidential Election In 2013 the Constitutional Convention recommended an extended franchise for the next Presidential election to include all Irish citizens. Despite that clear endorsement the current Irish government has been reluctant to take any steps to implement the Convention’s report. Those of us who believe in this amendment have the task … Read more

“Freedom of information it isn’t…”

In the Irish Times, Noel Whelan takes a look at the Irish presidential candidates’ declared expenditure.  [So you don’t have to? – Ed]  Indeed.  He starts by comparing that declared expenditure with what they said, during the campaign, they would spend.  From the Irish Times article One of those mental notes was made during the televised election debate on the Late Late Show as candidates were asked how much they would spend on their campaigns. Seán Gallagher answered first, making … Read more

Martin McGuinness: “as far as I was concerned she apologised for her behaviour…”

That’s according to the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, in an interview to be published in the Irish Examiner tomorrow.  He’s referring to RTÉ presenter Miriam O’Callaghan and her questioning of his version of his past during a televised debate with candidates in the Irish Presidential election last year.  From the Irish Examiner report In an interview to be published in full in Monday’s Irish Examiner, Mr McGuinness says Ms O’Callaghan apologised on count night.”Miriam came … Read more

#Aras11: Sinn Fein’s pathfinder election?

Sinn Fein’s unique politbureau leadership and ownership structure (effectively the party rather than the state that sets the terms of employment for their ‘public’ representatives) gives it a capacity to engage long term strategies that’s impractical for other more conventionally democratic parties. Thus the current leadership is already twenty six years in place and pre dates the party’s wholehearted and exclusive commitment to democracy. Occasions that might have proven fatal to another party’s leadership, for example, the Irish general election … Read more

Aras11: Advantage Fianna Fail?

The Irish Times has what looks like a fairly definitive take on the race for the Aras: The big news from the poll is the continued surge in support for Mr Gallagher. He has doubled his level of support despite the media focus over the past week on his role in Fianna Fáil and, potentially more damaging, the controversy surrounding some of his business dealings. Mr Gallagher is now the favoured choice of Fianna Fáil voters and that has given … Read more

Martin McGuinness: “but I don’t recall saying that.”

During the campaign to become President of Ireland, the Sinn Féin candidate, Martin McGuinness, MP, MLA, has repeatedly claimed that “As a republican leader I have never and would never stand over attacks on the Garda Síochána or the Defence Forces” In a report today, he’s again quoted as saying “I would not support anybody under any circumstances attacking the gardai or the Defence Forces…” So it’s worth noting Martin McGuinness’ response on Thursday’s RTÉ’s Six One News, when confronted … Read more

#Aras11: Michael D still attracting the smart money on Betfair…

Interesting to see in advance of any further polls that Sean Gallagher’s growth spurt has finished almost as soon as it began… Polls test public opinion, the bookies go for opinion on the final outcome… Betfair currently has the following odds: That’s Higgins still as firm favourite 3/1 on, and Gallagher as decent outsider on 3/1 against… Martin McGuinness could be a very profitable outside bet at 28/1 (better odds than Paddy Power is offering at the moment)… I’ve no … Read more

#Aras11: Nordies need not apply, the party’s over…

I’ve heard it said in some quarters that quietly, there’s some considerable animus shown southerners in Northern Ireland. It’s not the old sectarian, ‘hey are you from Dublin, whip you off the street and take you to a house just off the lower Shankill’ sort of thing. It’s more of the ‘what the hell would you know’ sort of prejudice. And, I guess, some of that inevitably flows the other way too. At least that’s what Davy Adams argues in … Read more

Quick everyone, get Sean Gallagher (although it may already be too late)…

Here’s the latest from the #Aras11 horse race. It seems the, erm, Independent candidate for Sinn Fein (aka, the firmly established once and future Deputy First Minister), is accusing another Independent candidate of, erm, not being Independent. There is some grist to that mill, of course… Thanks to Suzy for this clip of Gallagher speaking at a meeting of Fianna Fail Ogra at Queens in Belfast (along with, it has to be said, with the likes of Elaine Byrne, who … Read more

#Aras11 Round up: The “And Then There Were Two” Edition

This is the first presidential election in some fourteen years…  And its been a bit of a roller coaster… Not least for Martin McGuinness who’s odds have burned from 3/1 in September out to 25/1 now (or 16/1 on Betfair in a market of £125k)… So here’s our third round up on #Aras11: – Martina Devlin ignored a rather large and inconvenient chunk of Northern Irish constitutional history to suggest that little social social had been undertaken before the 1989 Fair Employment Act … Read more

Was Micheal Martin the only ‘sane’ one, refusing to get involved in #Aras11?

The front page of The Phoenix sums up the orgy of self destruction the Irish Presidential race is becoming… ‘De Nile’ is not just a river in Africa… On Twitter, Frank FitzGibbon of the Irish edition of the Sunday Times summed up last night’s Prime Time debate, rather succinctly… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events … Read more

“It was only since the presidential campaign got under way…”

As RTÉ reported on Monday, the Sinn Féin candidate in the Irish Presidential race, Martin McGuinness, MP, MLA, found himself confronted, and called “a liar”, by the son of a member of the Irish Army who was killed in Ballinamore in 1983 by the Provisional IRA gang who were holding the kidnapped businessman Don Tidey.  The full RTÉ video clip is available here. As Anthony McIntyre observes Looking at the incident from where I sat the presidential candidate was caught unawares by what he thought was … Read more

“If elected president, does Mr Higgins plan to expand the review section?”

In his Irish Times’ Irishman’s Diary Frank McNally pre-empted John’s complaint with some questions about Irish Presidential candidate Michael D Higgins’ dubious past.  From the Irish Times As the presidential campaign grew dirtier, it was inevitable that, sooner or later, somebody would raise the poetry issue. No surprise that the somebody was Gay Mitchell. The Fine Gael man is politically descended from a long line of philistines, including Kevin O’Higgins, who established an early precedent for this kind of thing … Read more

“Republicans don’t accept that…”

Despite sitting in a Northern Ireland Assembly that requires Royal Assent to enact any legislation passed, the NI deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd, has told the BBC that he would not be prepared to meet the UK Head of State (Queen Elizabeth II).  From the BBC report [John O’Dowd] “There are a number of issues which need to be resolved before such a scenario would arise, including from a republican point of view, we were meeting a family … Read more

Irish Times Poll: It’s all about Higgins, Gallagher and McGuinness (and poor Gay Mitchell)…

Well that’s one of my Betfair punts in the waste basket, and the other one could yet cost me some serious cash. However, let’s remember for now that this is still only a gameshow! The Red C poll results are out later, but for now, this is the #Aras11 world according to Ipsos/MRB: Michael D Higgins 23 per cent (up five points); Seán Gallagher 20 per cent (up seven points); Martin McGuinness 19 per cent (not in last poll); Mary … Read more

Yes, IRA violence was remorseless, but what caused it? And who brought it to an end?

Martina Devlin with a timely observation: A debate about the North has become intertwined with the presidential race — one which should have taken place at the time of the Good Friday Agreement more than 13 years ago, but was sidelined amid euphoria about peace in our time. Quite so. It is an important debate. The problem is that partition has worked to the extent that the largest body of opinion in the Republic, feels ‘the North’ is an embarrassment … Read more

Where is the Fianna Fail vote going in #Aras11?

This has just come up as an off topic conversation on another thread. Whilst the Red C poll gives a good idea of where the candidates where just before the campaign began, it does tell us where the core vote of each of the parties is going. Both Sinn Fein and Labour candidates were up on their parties poll showing, whilst Fine Gael was spectacularly down. But given none of the four other candidates are representatives of political parties, it … Read more

Sinn Fein release Martin McGuinness bank statement

The BBC are reporting that Sinn Fein have released a bank statement purporting to be Martin McGuinness’s. The statement over 6 months details his receipt from Sinn Fein of £1515 in May which rose in June to £1569 and then in August to £1605. It also details assorted withdrawals made by Mr. McGuiness: he mainly seems to shop at ASDA but has also been to TK Maxx, B&Q and Tescos. It is of course unclear how many accounts Mr. McGuinness … Read more

Martin McGuinness: “but it bears all kinds of sinister connotations…”

There was a bizarre interruption in the Irish Times interview with the Sinn Fein candidate in the Irish Presidential race, Martin McGuinness, MP, MLA.  From the Irish Times report TEN MINUTES into our interview, Martin McGuinness is beginning to set out how he’s been around a long time, when a shadow falls across the table. We turn around and a large, hirsute man looms above, shaking a camán and warning, “You’d better not ask any hard questions.” A smile as … Read more