Irish referendum on diaspora presidential vote gets go ahead for this fall – Irish Central

Irish President Michael D Higgins (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Irish President Michael D Higgins (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Ireland is set to vote on extending presidential voting rights to the diaspora in October.

The vote had been long scheduled to coincide with local and European elections in May but has instead been postponed over continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

Irish citizens living abroad are currently unable to vote in presidential elections or in any referendum that takes place in Ireland.

If passed, it would mean Irish citizens living outside of Ireland would be able to cast their vote for the first time.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is facing an internal Fine Gael backlash over the referendum with an increasing number of Fine Gael Cabinet ministers understood to be opposed to the motion.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is facing an internal Fine Gael backlash over the referendum with an increasing number of Fine Gael Cabinet ministers understood to be opposed to the motion.

Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar told the Dáil (Irish Parliament) that extending the vote out to October will give the government more preparation time and a better chance to lay the groundwork for the vote.

“We want to win it,” he said, insisting the government has “a better chance of getting it passed,” if it takes place in the fall.

Nevertheless, Varadkar is facing an internal Fine Gael backlash with an increasing number of Fine Gael Cabinet ministers understood to be opposed to the motion over concerns about the impact it would have on other elections.

According to the Irish Independent, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed raised his objection to the referendum directly
with the Taoiseach at a cabinet meeting and other ministers said they privately agreed with Creed but did not speak up at the meeting.

Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced the idea of a referendum when he was in the United States
Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced the idea of a referendum when he was in the United States

“It is a nonsense idea based on something Enda Kenny announced when he was on a visit to America,” a Cabinet minister said.

The growing resistance to the referendum within Fine Gael emerged despite the Cabinet agreeing to delay the controversial vote until October.

This article first appeared in IrishCentral.com on February 7, 2019. To view the original version, click here.