IrishCentral.com article calls for votes for emigrants

An article on IrishCentral.com says that Ireland has yet to achieve the ideals of 1916 as evidenced by the fact that “20% of all Irish citizens are disenfranchised from the right to vote and are silenced as soon as they set off from the loneliest of airports.”

Author Morgan O’Sullivan, an Irish citizens who has lived abroad for 12 years, cites the contributions of Irish emigrants, noting government efforts to increase engagement:

However our greatest export is our people and the amazing young minds that have left the island to build a new life further afield. They have become ambassadors on every level and have grown to the top levels in industry and business and society around the globe. The Irish government has been happy to invite them home for “The Gathering” and been happy to invite Irish owned companies back to the emerald isle to set up and invest in the country. All of these are good and positive things. Surely it is not too much to allow these Irish citizens living abroad a say in how they want to see Ireland grow and develop.

O’Sullivan addresses the objection that emigrants do not pay taxes – an argument frequently cited by opponents of emigrant voting rights in Ireland, although it evidently holds little weight in the 125+ countries and territories that offer emigrant voting rights and have no income tax for emigrants.

The detractors will suggest that the emigrant is not entitled to have a say in the affairs of the country, with the old adage “no representation without taxation”. After all, why should those living abroad be afforded a voice in the affairs of the country, when they are not even living there? With 20% of the Irish nation now living overseas, surely it is not too much to ask for their input when it comes to leading our country? In terms of taxation, the reality is that only the United States in the developed world places a tax on its citizens on foreign earned income. Eritrea follows America’s lead. It is not demanded amongst any of our European counterparts and nearly every country has some form of emigrant voting rights.

O’Sullivan believes emigrant voting rights are suited to the nation’s ideals:

Bunreacht na hEireann states that it is the “birthright of every person born in the Island of Ireland … to be a part of the Irish Nation”. Wouldn’t it be nice if all those Irish citizens living abroad were allowed to be heard? The spirit and hope of 1916 seeks to inspire the youth of today to embrace new dreams and ideals. Is it too much of a dream to give our loved ones away from home a say in how the country is run? Surely it is their country as much as ours?

See the whole article on IrishCentral.com.

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